With Ben Roethlisberger‘s health in doubt, the Pittsburgh Steelers may be forced to turn to backup quarterback Landry Jones to lead the Steelers to victory over the Broncos.
Watching Ben Roethlisberger get tackled by Vontaze Burfict onto his shoulder, and get carted off the field in an awful lot of pain was not a sight any Pittsburgh fan wanted to see.
The Bengals stormed back, and the season seemed to be over. Then, with less than 2 minutes to play, Ben came marching onto the field, and led the Steelers down the field through a variety of short passes, and penalties against Cincinnati. Pittsburgh kicked the game winner, and immediately looked to Denver for their next game.
Earlier this season, the Steelers miraculously came back from a 17 point deficit at the half through the offense coming alive, and the defense shutting down Brock Osweiler, and the Broncos offense.
This is not the same game.
Looking at the Steelers’ injury report, the offense is not the explosive machine it’s been all season. Steeler fans are all too familiar with life without Ben this season. We’ve suffered and survived through multiple injuries, but face the toughest task of all without him this week, in a game that matters more than any other.
Not only that, but if Landry Jones is to start, he could possibly be without the reliable hands of star wide receiver Antonio Brown, and may not be able to trust the run game with the absence of DeAngelo Williams. If Williams cannot go, Todman and Toussaint must be effective if Pittsburgh wants any chance.
Also, Peyton Manning will be making his first start since his dismal performance against the Chiefs earlier this season. No one really knows what to expect, but they can expect that he will be ready to go, and it’ll be important that Pittsburgh holds Denver to as few points as possible.
The real question is, can Landry Jones get it done?
Landry Jones stepped onto the field after both Roethlisberger and Michael Vick went down against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 6, and led them to an astonishing victory. Then, he failed to orchestrate anything in his first and only start of the year versus the Chiefs the following week throwing only 1 TD against 2 interceptions.
With Big Ben injured against the Bengals, Landry Jones briefly marched onto the field in relief, and nearly threw the game with the costly interception with 2 minutes to go. Luckily, the Steelers managed to get the ball back thanks to Ryan Shazier, and as stated before, ended up with the win.
It might be a scary thought that the Steelers may have to throw the unreliable Jones onto the field with little run support, and no Antonio Brown against possibly the best defense in football.
Landry Jones is going to have to have quite the game, and Bryant, Wheaton, and the other receivers they throw out there need to be able to get open against the unstoppable duo of Chris Harris and Aqib Talib, and quick. If they can’t, the pass rush will be too much for Jones, and the Steelers offense will be crippled.
The likelihood that Pittsburgh pulls off this improbable win is very slim, but it’s not impossible. Crazier things have happened, and it’s still not official that anyone will be missing the game, but it sure is looking glum.
Keep your head up, Steeler Nation. It’s not over yet.