Sunday the Steelers “dream” season if you will has a chance to continue as the team can get to 9-0 with a home win over super rookie Joe Burrow and the 2-5-1 Cincinnati Bengals.
Like just about every game the team has played (minus the wins over the Giants and Browns), it’s likely to be a fight and a close game, and as Mike Tomlin often points out, that’s what AFC North football is all about.
So why then has there been numerous respected writers this week that have speculated that the team should sit QB Ben Roethlisberger.
The team MVP (don’t pretend there’s anyone else even close thus far) has been sitting due to his contract with TE Vance McDonald, who tested positive Sunday for the COVID-19 virus.
The good news is now the team says that the QB is fully expecting him to be able to play Sunday in the late afternoon affair.
“We’ll prepare and continue to prepare as if Ben is playing,” offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner said Thursday via ESPN.
“As of this point right now, he hasn’t missed a rep. He doesn’t practice on Wednesdays anyway. … there’s been various times in his career where he has not practiced all week and played in games and played successful in games. I don’t question that one bit.”
It’s been amazing to me to hear a lot of people say the team should look to give chances to either Josh Dobbs or Mason Rudolph, who QB’s who are backups for a reason, they are not nearly as good or give the team a chance to win like Ben does.
If the Steelers were 2-6 or even 3-5, I could understand the thinking behind sitting Ben a lot more, but when you’re 8-0, and more so in a dogfight in the AFC to want that overall #1 seed and the only bye for the postseason, right now is no time to be sitting the best player on the team.
Ben has had moments of struggle the last three weeks, more so the second half against the Titans, the first half against the Ravens, and most of the first half in Dallas on Sunday.
The big thing though is he and the offense bounced back, and in those three games ended up scoring 79 total points (though seven came on the Robert Spillane pick six early in the win over the Ravens).
Without Ben, the offense simply is not the same, and we got a small taste of that Sunday when Ben went into the locker room late in the first half after the Steelers got a touchdown to make it 13-6, only to watch as the defense got the team the ball back with time to get more points.
Rudolph instead was forced into action, and went 2-for-3 for 3 yards, and the team was able to find a way to get Chris Boswell a chance for a team record 59-yard field goal after a false start on Cam Heyward.
Sure Rudolph’s action was not a true representation of his play if he had a chance to prepare more during the week, but no one right now I think wants to see 60 minutes of Rudolph or Dobbs.
Just remember 2019 and how bad at times the Steelers offense was – that should be all the reasoning you need to want Roethlisberger under center Sunday.
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