It seemed like no matter who was on the injured list for the Pittsburgh Steelers this season, no one really panicked as long as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t on the list.
In this past Monday night’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Roethlisberger sprained his right shoulder while being sacked during the third quarter of the Steelers’ 16-13 overtime victory.
Pittsburgh has had a first-round draft pick, defensive players of the year, Pro Bowlers, and just about every running back on the roster all on the injured list at some point in time this season. Despite the laundry list of casualties, Steeler Nation never seemed to be completely shaken. Unfortunately, now is the time to be nervous.
Big Ben is without a doubt the Steelers’ most valuable player, and, in my opinion, an NFL MVP candidate. Without Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh would not have a record of 6-3 and wouldn’t be in contention for the AFC North title at this point in the season.
What makes this injury so untimely is the fact that the Steelers’ next three games are divisional games, two of which are against the much-hated Baltimore Ravens. The Steelers are one game behind the Ravens in the divisional standings.
Roethlisberger’s injury will not only put pressure on backup quarterback Byron Leftwich, but it will also put pressure on Pittsburgh’s running game, which has been sporadic all season. Leftwich will more than likely be short one target in the passing game due to the ankle injury to wide receiver Antonio Brown, who is questionable to play versus the Ravens.
As far as the backfield, running back Rashard Mendenhall was said to be questionable for Week 11 as well with his injured Achilles. Fellow running backs Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer have shown flashes of brilliance this season. Both will be looked upon to pick up the slack while Roethlisberger is ailing.
The timetable for Big Ben’s return to the field is unknown as of now. One certain thing is that the longer Roethlisberger is sidelined, the worse off Pittsburgh will be for the season.
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