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Can the Steelers Overcome Without Roethlisberger Yet Again?

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The Steelers wake up today sitting as the NFL’s 6th seeded team in the AFC playoff race with seven games to play, but after already surviving one scare without their franchise QB this season, now it appears they will be without him yet again for who knows how long.

Yes, the early indications seem to indicate that Ben Roethlisberger will be able to get back on his feet and back in the Steelers lineup after their bye week in Seattle – but let’s be honest, do you really want to see him that quickly?

We all had our hearts in our mouths yesterday when the QB couldn’t put any pressure whatsoever on his foot and eventually was carted off and taken to get it checked out outside the stadium.

When word came back that it was a mid-foot sprain, people were relived, but let’s not count on Big Ben being able to yet again be Big Ben when he’s back in the lineup.

Right now the team should prepare for at least 2-3 weeks, meaning 1-2 games with Ben watching from the sideline, and they need to do whatever they can to get Landry Jones ready.

It’s truly amazing to see what this franchise has been able to do with all the injured players, and if you tell those guys in the locker room it’s a lost season with guys not in the lineup, be prepared to protect yourself, as those guys have too much pride to just curl up and not fight.

The defense has its moments of looking like a top 5-10 unit, and then at times they allow drives that make you want to pull your head out. The run game looks dominant at times, and will be leaned upon even more with Le’Veon Bell gone for the season.

This team can beat the Browns at home to get to 6-4 Sunday without Roethlisberger, and should give him three weeks total (at least) to heal the foot and get ready for the final month of the season.

If this team is at 6-5 and has five games left with a even 70 percent Roethlisberger, they can and should still be in a position to be very much in the hunt for a wild card spot in the AFC.

As I’ve said a number of times on twitter, this feels like a cursed season, but it just may still have a silver lining or two left if they can find a way to get their franchise QB somewhat healthy for the last month of the regular season.

Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. DaveB

    November 9, 2015 at 10:18 am

    Deangelo Williams played a great game and deserves a ton of credit , but remember , he is 32 years old . Hes not going to have a monster game every week . At some point , the passing game is going to have to take up some slack . Without Ben Roethlisberger , thats not going to happen . Roethlisberger , is the motor that makes this offense run . Without him , they are in trouble , BIG TROUBLE . Yes we have the Browns this week and that is a winnable game followed by a bye week . The following week we have the Seahawks . Do you really think that Landry Jones is going into Seattle against Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman and give the Steelers a legitimate chance to win that game ? Its not happening . As fans lets pray Ben is a quick healer , otherwise , the Steelers are in trouble .

  2. DrGeorge

    November 10, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    DaveB is right in saying that Ben R. is the “motor that makes this offense run.” To me, that is precisely the problem. In 2005, when the Steelers won their 5th Super Bowl, Ben R. played horribly (his QB rating was below 30), but he played well enough when it counted, and he was supported by a cast of veteran players and the running of Jerome Bettis and Willy Parker. It was Ben’s second year, and Wisenhutt kept the offense simple and balanced by calling conservative plays and limiting Ben’s chances for mistakes.

    After that Super Bowl, Bettis and Wisenhutt departed, along with some key players on defense. Ben lobbied for and got greater play calling latitude, and the aerial circus began to evolve. By 2009, when the Steelers won Super Bowl 43, the offense was completely built around Ben’s arm and his ability to scramble. And Ben began to throw more interceptions and to take more sacks. The Steelers qualified for the playoffs that year with a puny 9-7 record, and very narrowly beat the Cardinals. After that, the team relied increasingly on Ben’s abilities, paid him a hefty salary, and allowed the defense and O-line to deteriorate. The team became average, as the 8-8 record indicates. In 2015, we have finally begun to see a resurgence in the defense; with Villanueva and Cody Williams, the O-line has begun to play as a unit; DeAngelo Williams has ably replaced L. Bell. In short, we have a team again in Pittsburgh, and it is good enough to win without Ben R. IF Haley adapts the offense to L. Jones ability as a QB (as Wisenhutt did for Ben R. in his early years) and runs the ball consistently with D. Williams and, hopefully, Will Johnson. Pounding the ball will also give our defense a chance to rest and limit the exposure of our weak secondary.

    That is a winning formula, not only against the Browns, but against Seattle, too. But if Haley does not adapt to Jones’s talents and asks him to imitate Ben R. and throw deep, we will be indeed in big trouble. Play calling and preparation, more than talent, will determine how this offense fares in the weeks ahead.

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