Ben Roethlisberger looked like a statue (or, if you prefer, "the best 49er") during Pittsburgh's 20-3 loss to San Francisco on Monday night but is optimistic that he'll play on Saturday against St. Louis.
The Steelers quarterback said on Wednesday that he wasn't negatively affected by remaining in the game and throwing 45 times, and that his ankle is no worse because of it. Roethlisberger did not practice on Wednesday, however.
As Clark Judge pointed out Monday, it was a bad decision to leave Ben in against San Francisco. But it doesn't look like the same mistake will be made against St. Louis this week, as the Steelers would reportedly be "shocked" if Roethlisberger played against the Rams.
"Steelers officials would be shocked if Ben plays this week," Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network tweeted Wednesday. "Fully expect him to rest at least one week. Mike Tomlin yet to reveal decision."
Tomlin's decision should be pretty obvious: sit Ben against the Rams.
The entire point of putting Roethlisberger on the field against the 49ers was to gamble on a shot for homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. If Pittsburgh beat San Francisco, they would've jumped into the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC, with a very good shot at homefield advantage and a bye in the first week of the playoffs.
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Instead, the Steelers now need to both win out and have the Ravens slip up against either Cleveland or Cincinnati. As we noted this morning, anything's possible with the Ravens on the road.
But the likely scenario for Tomlin's crew involves traveling for the first round of the playoffs (perhaps to Denver) and preparing for any other reality by playing Roethlisberger against the Rams just wouldn't be prudent, particularly given the way he looked on Monday night.
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