For fifteen minutes during yesterday’s 31-0 destruction of the hapless Cleveland Browns, the world stood still.
Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger lay motionless on the sloppy tundra of Heinz Field with a crowd of trainers, teammates, and medical personnel around him. When I say motionless, I mean not so much as his pinky finger appeared to be moving. Then, in a scene reminiscent of Jason Street’s ill-fated tackle on “Friday Night Lights,” they slowly removed his facemask before carting him off the field. Ben did manage a weak Thumbs Up to the crowd as he disappeared into the tunnel but I doubt anybody was feeling very optimistic at that point.
In the aftermath of this colossal disaster, tests revealed Ben suffered a mild concussion. To which I call B.S. Minor concussions are when you stumble off the field thinking you’re back at Miami of Ohio, not when you’re immobilized and ambulanced to the hospital. Not to mention this is Ben’s third or fourth concussion since his motorcycle accident. It’s a known fact that once you have a serious head injury, it becomes easier to be concussed in the future. At this point, you have to be concerned about his long term durability when you’re only in year five and already have four concussions. Steve Young retired due to concussion syndrome after only suffering from three (that he knew of).
The Steelers are circling the wagons on this one. The team shills doctors are claiming Ben could possibly be at practice this week. They appear to have no doubt he’ll be ready for the playoffs in two weeks. Mike Tomlin has already come out saying he has absolutely no regrets about playing his starters. To which I have to ask:
ARE YOU INSANE?
I like Tomlin. I think he’s a smart coach. But he has a disturbing habit of refusing to admit mistakes. Like, oh say, putting your franchise quarterback in peril in a meaningless game right before the playoffs are about to begin. Let’s review the logic at play here.
BEN IS A WALKING INJURY REPORT WITH A BAD HAND, SEPARATED SHOULDER, AND SPRAINED KNEE.
THE GAME MEANT ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
THE OFFENSIVE LINE IS LEAKIER THAN THE LOUSIANA LEVEES AFTER KATRINA.
Sorry for all the shouting but I am totally baffled by the reasoning behind playing Ben in the first place. Where is the upside? It worked for the Giants last year but they had a healthy quarterback and an O-line that didn’t allow 8 sacks per game. Use your damn head, Tomlin.
Anyway, the rest of the game was only slightly above a preseason game in Tijuana in terms of excitement and intensity. When QB Dennis Dixon gets in a game, you know it means less than nothing. Fast Willie Parker finally looked like Fast Willie Parker in rushing for 116 yards, highlighted by a sweet 34 yard scamper in the first quarter. The defense had 3 sacks and 2 INTs (one returned for a TD by Tyrone Carter) in limiting the mighty Browns to 126 yards of total offense.
But the story of this game begins and ends with #7 lying motionless on the turf. Let’s hope that’s not some sort of omen of things yet to come.