Should Roethlisberger Sit For the Final 2 Steelers Games?

Was the bad ankle to blame or was it just a bad night for Ben on Monday?

Our quarterback has been the topic of debate all week long on all the airwaves due to that frustrating performance on Monday night in San Francisco.  From the moment we all saw him limping around during pregame warm-ups and then that first interception, the opinions started flying.  Should he have played?  Would Batch have been more effective?  What would the story about Ben playing on a bum ankle have been like if the Steeler won the game?  We can play the “Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda” game all we want now, but that game is over and we have 2 more staring us in the face before the post-season begins. 

One thing that is not debatable, Ben was not effective on Monday night.  Three interceptions and a lost fumble is pretty friggin ineffective.  We all know that the second interception was a pass that Heath Miller should have caught, but Ben clearly wasn’t 100%.  Ben threw for 330 yards but also accounted for 4 turnovers.  Ben even stated himself that he was probably, “the best 49er out there”.  During the week of practice leading up to the game, Ben sat and rested the ankle while Batch and Dixon mixed it up with the offense.  Ben had a light practice on Saturday and it was announced late Sunday night that we would be the starter. 

No shots please. Just the advils, tylenols and a whole lot of tape.

There was a little controversy over whether or not Ben had taken a pain-killing shot before the game.  Ben and the Steelers trainer were quite offended at the idea, while NFL “experts” Steve (I owe my career to Montana and Rice) Young and Trent (Worst QB to ever win a Super Bowl) Dilfer seemed pretty certain that Ben had taken a shot in order to play.  Ben stated that there was no shot and he played on “2 Advils, 2 Tylenols, and adrenaline.”  The risk of taking a shot to play through an injury is that you won’t be able to feel it if you end up hurting yourself worse.  Believe what you want, but I don’t think I’m being a naive homer when I say that I totally believe Ben when he says he didn’t take a shot.  I think back to when Greg Lloyd suffered a staph infection due to a pain-killing shot and that 2002 game against the Ravens where Bettis was pulled minutes before the game because a pain-killing shot left his entire leg numb.  I think perhaps the Steelers training and coaching staff has a very good policy that if a player needs a shot in order to play, then they’re not able to play. 

Whether Ben had a bad game because of his ankle or he had a bad game and just happened to also have a bad ankle is still up in the air.  Personally, I’m not a fan of sitting players at the end of the season just because you’ve clinched this or that and you want the star players rested for the post-season.  People who go to games in Week 16 or 17 pay just as much for their seats as the people who went to games in Week 5 or 10.  They’re not looking to watch their team coast through their final games in preparation for the playoffs.  Plus, I just don’t feel good about my team being ok if they happen to lose a game because they’ve already clinched something.  It should never be ok to lose a game.  I throw a toddler-like temper tantrum each time the Steelers lose and I hope that the players and coaches feel as strongly about winning and losing games as I do (although I’m sure they handle themselves a bit more maturely than I do). 

Tomlin isn’t giving anybody any clues on whether Ben will start on Saturday, but there has only been 1 day of practice so far this week.  I’m a little conflicted on Tomlin this week.   While he said by far one of my most favorite quotes so far in his press conference this week in regards to playing Ben, “We don’t live in our fears, we live in our hopes.” He has also stated time and time again when it has come to players stepping in for Woodley, Harrison, Polamalu, and Pouncey that he doesn’t consider having starters and back-ups, he has “starters and starters-in-waiting”.  It seems to me though, that this is true for all other positions except for quarterback.  I know how special Roethlisberger is, he is having a career that will probably end up being the greatest quarterback in Steelers history, but I gotta say, Tomlin isn’t exuding a whole heap of confidence in Batch or Dixon.  Seems as though any other player goes out and the next man up shouldn’t be an issue but Tomlin is going out of his way to not play Batch or Dixon and that just strikes me as odd. 

Batch and Dixon did a solid job of filling in for Ben last season.

Between Dixon and Batch, the Steelers went 3-1 last season while Ben was serving his suspension.  That was better than anyone had expected them to start considering how important Ben is to the offense.  Granted, they started off knowing Ben wouldn’t be playing so they had the value of training camp to prepare Dixon and Batch for starting rather than midweek practicing in preparation for the next game up.  I believe in Batch’s abilities to fill in for Ben, especially against the Rams and Browns. 

So what it all comes down to is should Ben sit and rest his ankle the remainder of the season or should he continue to limp around the field to ensure our best chances of winning out and staying even with the Ratbirds?  Honestly, even at the end of this post I’m not sure myself.  I can agree with both sides of the argument.  If Ben is healthy and effective, he should play.  Just as Woodley, Polamalu, Pouncey, Sanders, and any other player on the injury report.  If you’re healthy, you’re playing.  But if you’re banged up and ineffective, the next man up needs to step in because the “standard is the standard”.  Go Steelers! 

Follow me on Twitter @Kimmy_KimKimM

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  • JennMT

    I can attest to the “toddler-like” tantrums myself! But I wouldn’t expect any less out of a true member of STEELERNATION! RIght cowhercbs

  • Kimmy_KimKimM

    @PerfectCaroline thank you for the RT! #Steelfam

  • SteveWade

    Great post as always by the way. I think ben,troy,pouncey,and woodley should all sit out and let the rest of the team rally and unite for the final run. If Ben plays through the pain and mAkes his ankle worse which is a very real possibility, we have no shot in the playoffs. Ben has to be able to move around and extend plays. That’s his m.o. the steelers strength is not there off line and having a hurt qb with the mobility of Bernie kosar forced into being a pocket passer will be a disaster. Especially when suggs is after him. I say let sit and reheab. Let the young guys get involved and show they belong. And come out like dogs off the chain in the playoffs. Road or at home.. play cam heyward more too I got a good feeling about that dude:) keep up the good work.

  • JennMT

    I can attest to the “toddler-like” tantrums myself! But I wouldn’t expect any less out of a true member of STEELERNATION! RIght cowhercbs

  • ToddWilliams

    Good article, Kimmy. I’m also very childish when it comes to the Steelers not playing well…my wife doesn’t like to be around when I’m beating couch cushions and yelling at the TV.

    As far as the injuries go, I also lean towards getting our players back to 100% by sitting them to give us the best shot in the playoffs. I might change my mind if the Har-birds had a decent chance of losing to the Browns and Bengals, but I don’t think they will.

  • Lumpyette

    @steelersbuzztap Why?? What did the big guy do now??!!

  • Kimmy_KimKimM

    @PerfectCaroline thank you for the RT! #Steelfam

  • SteveWade

    Great post as always by the way. I think ben,troy,pouncey,and woodley should all sit out and let the rest of the team rally and unite for the final run. If Ben plays through the pain and mAkes his ankle worse which is a very real possibility, we have no shot in the playoffs. Ben has to be able to move around and extend plays. That’s his m.o. the steelers strength is not there off line and having a hurt qb with the mobility of Bernie kosar forced into being a pocket passer will be a disaster. Especially when suggs is after him. I say let sit and reheab. Let the young guys get involved and show they belong. And come out like dogs off the chain in the playoffs. Road or at home.. play cam heyward more too I got a good feeling about that dude:) keep up the good work.

  • Kimmy

    @ToddWilliams Thank you Todd! It’s good to know that I’m not the only one that acts that way after a loss :). I’m still split on what would be better for both games but I’m starting to lean towards at least Saturday’s game should be one that Ben sits out. It’s a short week and his ankle couldn’t have possibly improved since Monday night. Even though he’s thrown 3 interceptions when he’s been perfectly healthy, he’s not the same QB without his mobility. St. Louis should be easy enough to handle for Batch. I was in Tampa last year when Batch destroyed them 38-13 and he looked great.

  • Kimmy

    @SteveWade Thank you Steve! I’m not sure about sitting everybody till the playoffs. As much as it’s good to be healthy going into the post-season, it’s also good to be hot. Think of how the Packers entered the post-season last year and how the Saints are doing this year. The Packers had all their injuries in the beginning of the year and got hot late and ran thru the playoffs while the Saints are red hot right now and many are starting to think of them as a bigger threat than Green Bay. It’s a tough decision to make. That’s why the coaches make the big bucks. :)

  • ToddWilliams

    Good article, Kimmy. I’m also very childish when it comes to the Steelers not playing well…my wife doesn’t like to be around when I’m beating couch cushions and yelling at the TV.

    As far as the injuries go, I also lean towards getting our players back to 100% by sitting them to give us the best shot in the playoffs. I might change my mind if the Har-birds had a decent chance of losing to the Browns and Bengals, but I don’t think they will.

  • Lumpyette

    @steelersbuzztap Why?? What did the big guy do now??!!

  • Kimmy

    @ToddWilliams Thank you Todd! It’s good to know that I’m not the only one that acts that way after a loss :). I’m still split on what would be better for both games but I’m starting to lean towards at least Saturday’s game should be one that Ben sits out. It’s a short week and his ankle couldn’t have possibly improved since Monday night. Even though he’s thrown 3 interceptions when he’s been perfectly healthy, he’s not the same QB without his mobility. St. Louis should be easy enough to handle for Batch. I was in Tampa last year when Batch destroyed them 38-13 and he looked great.

  • Kimmy

    @SteveWade Thank you Steve! I’m not sure about sitting everybody till the playoffs. As much as it’s good to be healthy going into the post-season, it’s also good to be hot. Think of how the Packers entered the post-season last year and how the Saints are doing this year. The Packers had all their injuries in the beginning of the year and got hot late and ran thru the playoffs while the Saints are red hot right now and many are starting to think of them as a bigger threat than Green Bay. It’s a tough decision to make. That’s why the coaches make the big bucks. :)

  • SteveWade

    @Kimmy good point. Being hot is always good.and the rams weren’t a walk in the park for new Orleans. I want pittsburgh to shut up all these ravens fans up here so bad.

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  • SteelersCrash

    Ben HAS to play before the playoffs. If he does not, and even if he is 100% after sitting, he will struggle out of the gate in the playoffs.

    It’s his MO since he’s been here.

  • SteveWade

    @Kimmy good point. Being hot is always good.and the rams weren’t a walk in the park for new Orleans. I want pittsburgh to shut up all these ravens fans up here so bad.

  • SteelersCrash

    Ben HAS to play before the playoffs. If he does not, and even if he is 100% after sitting, he will struggle out of the gate in the playoffs.

    It’s his MO since he’s been here.

  • Kimmy

    @SteelersCrash

    That’s a good point. Ben has had days where he threw 3 interceptions and he was perfectly healthy. Never know if he could go out against the Rams and Browns and light it up. I am admittedly a waffler on this, I agree with both sides Lol. Thanks for reading!

  • Kimmy

    @SteelersCrash

    That’s a good point. Ben has had days where he threw 3 interceptions and he was perfectly healthy. Never know if he could go out against the Rams and Browns and light it up. I am admittedly a waffler on this, I agree with both sides Lol. Thanks for reading!

  • SPOILDPEREZ

    @steelersbuzztap “good dam ?! Ben should sit out of both games..

  • SPOILDPEREZ

    @steelersbuzztap “good dam ?! Ben should sit out of both games..

  • RickHarmon

    Dress all 3..if push comes to shove let him play..especially if the Ratbirds drop a game which is possible.

  • RickHarmon

    Dress all 3..if push comes to shove let him play..especially if the Ratbirds drop a game which is possible.