Steelers vs Chargers: Status of QB Ben Roethlisberger up in the air
By Tommy Jaggi
The Pittsburgh Steelers still don’t know who their quarterback will be against the Chargers this week. Here’s how they should prepare.
It’s never good when you don’t even know which quarterback will be leading your troops into battle. It’s even worse when this happens to be a road game against a quality opponent.
Right now, the Steelers might not know exactly how to prepare for this contest. Ben Roethlisberger was abruptly ruled out of Pittsburgh’s Week 10 home matchup against the Detroit Lions, and when a Mason Rudolph-led team failed to secure the victory last week (the game ended in a tie), fans were fearful that Big Ben would not be able to go in Week 11.
Because of COVID-19 protocol, we still don’t have a clear understanding of whether or not Roethlisberger will be available to play against the Chargers this week. In fact, we may not know until Saturday, according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
With Ben’s status for this all-important matchup currently up in the air, the Pittsburgh Steelers must prepare as if Mason Rudolph will be their quarterback once again.
Steelers must prepare as if Rudolph is starting
This is something the team has likely been doing all along, as there was never a guarantee that Roethlisberger was going to be cleared in time. Even if Big Ben gets the green light, this will come just one day before the game and the 39-year-old hasn’t practiced with his teammates in two weeks.
Regardless of whether or not Roethlisberger is cleared, the Steelers must prepare as if Mason Rudolph is playing this game… and perhaps he should. While Pittsburgh disappointingly tied with Detroit last week in Rudolph’s first action of 2021, two costly fumbles from Diontae Johnson and Pat Freiermuth late in the game contributed to this.
Though his performance wasn’t spectacular an added week of practice should really help Rudolph prepare against a susceptible defense that allows 25.3 points per game (25th in NFL) and 361.1 yards per game (17th), via Team Rankings.
Another factor that many like to ignore is the fact that Roethlisberger’s offense has only scored 19.2 offensive points per game this season. Just a few weeks ago, Ben only managed 15 points against a very banged-up Cleveland Browns defense; yet nobody was complaining about his performance.
I think Rudolph showed just enough against the Lions last week to have some level of confidence in him if he is deployed against a Chargers in Week 11. Either way, this team has to prepare as if Roethlisberger won’t be playing in this game.