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Just when the Pittsburgh Steelers had found themselves this season, they may now find themselves without arguably their most important performer.
In Monday night’s ugly 16-13 overtime win over the Kansas City Chiefs, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was sacked on the team’s first series of the second half and was knocked from the game. The early prognosis was an issue to his right shoulder and uncertainty regarding his future playing status.
In stepped veteran backup Byron Leftwich, who had his moments but most importantly did not turn over the football. With the Steelers ground attack limited to just 95 yards on 29 carries, the former Jaguars quarterback made a few plays, although they were few and far between.
But this one belonged to the Steelers defense, which was pushed around at times as Pittsburgh allowed a season-high 142 yards rushing. Mike Tomlin’s team would fall behind 10-0 in the second quarter but forged a 10-10 by halftime thanks in part to Roethlisberger’s 7-yard touchdown pass to wideout Mike Wallace.
As we well know, style points have never concerned Tomlin and a win is a win. But speaking of style, you have to give the nod to inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons, who totaled seven tackles, knocked down two passes and picked off Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel in overtime to set up Pittsburgh’s game-winning field goal.
The bottom line is that the Steelers did manage to pull out a victory in overtime without their starting quarterback and stayed within one game of the Baltimore Ravens (Pittsburgh’s opponent two of the next three weeks) in the AFC North.
Now it remains to be seen how many more times will the Steelers be called on to duplicate this feat.