Blog Entry

Big Ben doesn't practice, optimistic on playing

Posted on: December 21, 2011 11:57 am
Edited on: December 21, 2011 4:12 pm
By Will Brinson

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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Since: Nov 6, 2010
Posted on: December 21, 2011 12:35 pm

Report: Steelers 'shocked' if Ben plays Week 16

  Go with Dennis Dixon.  St Louis is a perfect match up for him to get some rest.  And with his mobility and St Louis lack of run stop... probably gives Steelers best chance for success.

Since: Jun 30, 2011
Posted on: December 21, 2011 12:30 pm

Report: Steelers 'shocked' if Ben plays Week 16

All of the comments that this was a poor decision haven't spent much time watching Charlie Batch play lately.  His passes look like lollipops, gifts for dbs with a sweet tooth.  He's great for what the Steelers wanted - a steady hand who can come in during an emergency, and not throw a game away.  But to say that he was going to win a game against the 49er's defense is not realistic.

Further, the Steelers have been a very shakey road team this year.  Their chances of going far in the playoffs were greatly enhanced by a home-field advantage.  So, playing Ben in the one hard game made sense.  Even if the Steelers had won, the next two games would be a good place to give Charlie some starts.

So, the decision to start Roethlisberger was a good one, and he was not punished in the first half, when the game was close.  When it got out of hand, Tomlin probably should have pulled him.  But all those who criticized this decision forget that a year ago they were clamoring for Pittsburgh to ship Roethlisberger out of town because he didn't put the team first.  This year, his coach gave him the chance to prove to his O-line that he's in there, through the bad as well as the good.  I don't think you can have it both ways. 

Since: Sep 22, 2009
Posted on: December 21, 2011 12:15 pm

Report: Steelers 'shocked' if Ben plays Week 16

Yeah I can't believe they let him play against the Niners. Foolish decision.

Since: Sep 26, 2008
Posted on: December 21, 2011 12:12 pm

Report: Steelers 'shocked' if Ben plays Week 16

Good move. Just a game late, that's all.

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