Why Did Pittsburgh Steelers QB Byron Leftwich Play Entire Game?

By Clyde A. Speller

It seems like when ever it rains in Pittsburgh, it pours. Sunday night, Pittsburgh Steelers second-string quarterback Byron Leftwich broke two ribs in a 13-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. This comes off the heels of the shoulder injury that sidelined starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in Week 10.

Leftwich seemed to injure his right shoulder early in the game as well when he tumbled into the end zone for Pittsburgh’s only touchdown of the game. Throughout the rest of the game, Leftwich took a number of hits from the Ravens’ defense, and was slow to get to his feet most of the time while holding on to his ribs.

As a result, many of Leftwich’s passes were thrown yards short of the intended receiver. It isn’t known exactly when during the game that Leftwich injured his ribs. It was first noticed with about 8:30 left in the fourth quarter.

After seeing passes hit the ground and Leftwich grimace in pain, I thought it would have been smart to bring in Charlie Batch. At one point during the game, Batch was seen warming up on the sideline. I know Batch, a 15-year veteran, doesn’t have Leftwich’s arm strength, but a healthy arm is much better than one that’s consistently missing its target.

The team’s decision to keep Leftwich in the game could have possibly made the injury worse than it originally was. Now the Steelers are stuck with one quarterback in Batch for their next divisional game, which is even more critical since Pittsburgh is now two games behind the Ravens in the AFC North.

The next move for the Steelers now is to search for a couple of potential quarterbacks to fill in for Roethlisberger and Leftwich. It would be logical to find someone who is familiar with the playbook.

The first person that came to my mind was Jerrod Johnson, a quarterback that was on Pittsburgh’s roster in the preseason and was cut on August 31st of this year. Unfortunately, Johnson is playing in the United Football League for the Sacramento Mountain Lions. So that’s out of the question

There aren’t many names that catch the eye as far as free-agent quarterbacks that are available. The best option would probably be David Garrard. Pittsburgh could also ponder the possibility of bringing a familiar face back to the team and give Dennis Dixon another chance to wear the black and gold.

Who ever it may be, Pittsburgh better make a decision quickly, because Week 12 will be here before we know it. The last thing the Steelers need to do is to go into a game with only one healthy quarterback on the roster.

Follow me on Twitter @ClydeASpeller

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