The Pittsburgh Steelers are giving Ben Roethlisberger some much-needed rest.
Despite starting the season 11-0, the wheels quickly came off for Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
A myriad of problems contributed to their 1-3 record since then. Their linebacker depth on that elite defense was absolutely shot, with injuries to Devin Bush (torn ACL), Bud Dupree (torn ACL), Robert Spillane (knee injury) and Vince Williams (COVID-19 list) piling up. James Conner’s absence for three weeks deprived Pittsburgh of any sort of credible run threat, and to make matters worse, Big Ben hit a wall from having to throw so often.
During the Steelers’ 0-3 skid, he looked completely washed up, and even Roethlisberger admitted he had been “playing like poo.” Thankfully for the Steelers, after a bounce-back performance and comeback win against the Indianapolis Colts locked up the AFC North, Big Ben will be getting some much-needed rest in Week 17:
Steelers’ QB Mason Rudolph will start in Week 17 game against Cleveland.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 29, 2020
The Steelers are giving Ben Roethlisberger the week off
Dreams of locking up the 1-seed in the AFC and getting a bye week in the NFL‘s new playoff format went out the window during Pittsburgh’s three-game losing streak, but the Steelers are manufacturing their own bye week of sorts for Big Ben.
In Week 17, Roethlisberger will sit against the Cleveland Browns, who need a win to lock up their own playoff spot. Since Pittsburgh has already won the division and secured a playoff berth, it has no need to risk any further injury (or mileage) to Big Ben’s throwing arm, which means Mason Rudolph will get the start.
The Steelers will only go as far as Big Ben is able to throw them, and lately, that’s only been 5-10 yards at a time. This team needs its aging quarterback healthy and well-rested to have any chance of making it out of Wild Card weekend alive, so sitting him against the Browns in a game where Pittsburgh has nothing to play for makes a lot of sense.