Ben Roethlisberger (Elbow) Out For Season
At 0-2, the Steelers face an uphill battle to stay relevant
- Pittsburgh Steelers (0-2) quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is out for the season following a Week 2 elbow injury that he sustained against the Seattle Seahawks.
- Mason Rudolph is now slated to take over, starting with a Week 3 road matchup against the San Francisco 49ers (2-0).
- At +6000 to win the Super Bowl and +425 to win the AFC North (via DraftKings), the Steelers (0-2) will now have an uphill climb to a successful campaign.
Big Ben's Injury
Ben Roethlisberger grimaced several times after releasing passes at the end of the second quarter in Pittsburgh’s loss to Seattle yesterday. Roethlisberger left for the locker room but returned to lead a field goal drive just before the half. However, he would not return in the second half with this injury to his throwing elbow.
After MRI results came back on Monday morning, the Steelers announced Roethlisberger will be placed on the Reserve/Injured List and is out for the season. He will have surgery on his elbow this week, and Mason Rudolph will take over as the starting quarterback.
Things change....— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 16, 2019
Drew Brees has missed only one start due to injury since high school -- when he was ruled out of a Week 3 game at the Carolina Panthers in 2015 with a shoulder injury.
Ben Roethlisberger has not missed a game due to injury since Week 7 of the 2016 season.
Rudoph was taken by the Steelers with the 76th overall pick (3rd round) in the 2018 NFL Draft out of Oklahoma State. The 24 year-old from Rock Hill, South Carolina won the 2017 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award as college football’s most outstanding senior quarterback.
Rudolph recently beat out former Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Josh Dobbs for the backup quarterback role behind Roethlisberger this preseason, but he had not seen NFL action before Sunday. Rudolph completed 65.1% of his passes this preseason along with four touchdowns and one interception.
After Roethlisberger’s Week 2 injury, Rudolph completed 12 of his 19 attempts for 112 yards, including two touchdowns and an interception. After throwing that interception on the first drive of the second half, Rudolph bounced back to lead scoring drives on three of Pittsburgh’s final four possessions in a 28-26 loss.
Interestingly, he might make the Steelers offense more unpredictable due to his mobility and the increase in play-action passes that were called with him under center.
If PIT has to turn Mason Rudolph, silver lining could mean more O versatility. Rudolph used play action on 30% of his dropbacks yesterday while Ben has regularly been at the bottom of the league since he sits in shotgun/spread so often. Ben hasn't had a 15% PA rate since 2014.— Rich Hribar (@LordReebs) September 16, 2019
As a result of the news, DraftKings dropped the Steelers to +6000 to win the Super Bowl and +425 to win the AFC North.
Pittsburgh’s slim chances of making the playoffs take a hit with Roethlisberger out for the season. Since 2007, 98 NFL teams have started 0-2, but only 12 of them (12.2 percent) turned things around to make the playoffs. In the AFC North, Baltimore looks like the team to beat with Lamar Jackson, Mark Andrews, Mark Ingram and rookie speedster Marquise Brown leading the way. They have a 2-0 record and boast the second best point differential (+55) in the NFL behind the defending champion Patriots (+73).
The Killer Bees of Pittsburgh Steelers past will now be absent for the rest of the 2019 season with Le’Veon Bell on the Jets, Antonio Brown on the Patriots and Big Ben sidelined for the year. Life after the first two Killer Bees has been a struggle in 2019 with running back James Conner averaging just 2.6 yards per carry.
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Juju Smith-Schuster has 162 receiving yards through 2 games, but the rest of the receivers have been disappointing. Donte Moncrief has 11 targets but just 3 receptions for 7 yards while Ryan Switzer has 7 receptions for 29 yards. The Steelers were a long shot with Roethlisberger healthy at 0-2, but with him out for the season and a dearth of game-breaking playmakers on offense, Mason Rudolph faces an uphill battle to get into the playoffs.
Rudolph’s road ahead starts with a Week 3 trip across the country to face the 2-0 San Francisco 49ers before back-to-back home matchups against division rivals Cincinnati and Baltimore. While searching for playmakers on offense, the Steelers have had trouble against the pass on defense. They have allowed the fourth most passing yards (640), and Pro Football Focus ranks their coverage unit 27th in the NFL through 2 games. Don’t be surprised if Pittsburgh is out of the playoff discussion by the end of October.