The Pittsburgh Woes Continue with QB Ben Roethlisberger being placed on IR after Suffering an Elbow Injury.
Article by: Justin Imler
Steeler Nation took a big hit Sunday afternoon when future Hall of Fame quarterback “Big Ben” Roethlisberger exited the game mid-way through the 2nd quarter with an apparent elbow injury. Not much detail was provided during the game, but Ben remained on the sideline for the remainder of the game, while backup QB Mason Rudolph filled in, and played pretty well in their 28-26 loss to Seattle.
As all of Pittsburgh waited in anticipation for the next 24 hours, it was revealed early Monday morning that Roethlisberger would indeed need surgery on his injured throwing elbow, ultimately ending his season. This blow is about as big as they come to an NFL team, especially when it happens to a team like Pittsburgh, who had high hopes for the 2019-2020 season.
Now it’s time for 2nd year QB out of Oklahoma State Mason Rudolph to take the helm and run the offense for the Black and Gold. Rudolph was impressive in his professional debut in relief for Roethlisberger, going 12-19 for 112 yards, 2 TDs (both to TE Vance McDonald), and 1 INT (drop by WR Donte Moncrief). Rudolph was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2018 draft by Pittsburgh, the highest the franchise has drafted a QB since Roethlisberger, who was drafted 11th overall in 2004. This led to some conflict at first with the star QB, who was not happy that the team took a QB that early in the draft, seemingly saying he had a lot left in the tank before he planned on calling it a career. Now, whether either of them likes it or not, it’s time for Rudolph to run the show for the remainder of the season and show what he can do. He has a golden opportunity to prove that he can be the future of the franchise once they officially reach the post-Roethlisberger era.
As an active member of Steeler Nation, I’m feeling a mixture of emotions. I’ve been on the Rudolph hype train since before he was drafted by the Steelers and was very excited to see him perform well in the preseason, win the backup job, and play decent in his debut on Sunday. With that being said, this team won’t be able to compete at the level that they’d like without Roethlisberger running the offense. I am however, trying to stay positive, and am excited to see how Rudolph plays throughout the season. This is his team now, and he needs to take advantage of this opportunity.
Roethlisberger made an official statement later on Monday explaining his disappointment in missing the season, supporting Rudolph, and his plans for the future.
“…I can only trust God's plan, but I am completely determined to battle through this challenge and come back stronger than ever next season. The Steelers committed three years to me this offseason and I fully intend to honor my contract and reward them with championship level play. I will do all I can to support Mason and the team this season to help win games. I love this game, my teammates, the Steelers organization and fans, and I feel in my heart I have a lot left to give.”
Only time will tell as to how this season pans out for Pittsburgh, but here’s some positive news for Steelers fans. The team ended up trading for Miami Dolphins S/CB Minkah Fitzpatrick late Monday night, who recently demanded to be traded from the sinking ship that is the Miami Dolphins, for their 2020 1st round pick. Fitzpatrick was drafted 11th overall in 2018 by Miami and has shown a lot of potential in his short NFL career. Personally, I love this move, and it’s one that makes sense if you’re Pittsburgh. The safety position is arguably their biggest need remaining on their defense, with Sean Davis being banged up early on, and backup Kameron Kelly not getting the job done in his place. Head coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday afternoon that Davis will be placed on injured reserve, which means that Fitzpatrick will be in the starting lineup for their week 3 matchup in San Francisco.
All in all, I’m not giving up hope on a successful season in Pittsburgh. Will they be able to compete with the AFC powerhouses in Kansas City and New England? No, but I’d still expect this team to put up a fight throughout the season and win some games under Rudolph, along with a young and improving defense.
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