Byron Leftwich: Steelers Will Make Playoffs Despite Ben Roethlisberger's Injury
Ben Roethlisberger injured his right shoulder on Monday night against the Kansas City Chiefs, leading everyone to wonder if the Pittsburgh Steelers would be stuck with Byron Leftwich under center for some time.
Rick Reilly of ESPN tweeted on Monday night:
Roethlisberger's agent, Ryan Tollner, says the QB IS headed to hospital to have right shoulder checked out. Said its a "non-traditional" inj— Rick Reilly (@ReillyRick) November 13, 2012
But the Steelers beat the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime, 16-13, and one of their biggest plays exemplified just one of the many reasons why they will go on to the postseason regardless of Roethlisberger's status moving forward.
Leftwich, who has bounced around the league the past few years, threw his first pass since Jan. 2, 2011, on Monday night. He ultimately went 7-of-14 for 73 yards, with no touchdowns and no interceptions.
But it was linebacker Lawrence Timmons' interception on the Chiefs' first drive of overtime that ultimately set up Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham to boot home the game-winning field goal. It was Pittsburgh's defense that won this game (sound familiar from this organization?).
After the victory on Monday night, the Steelers have now allowed 19.7 points per game this season, which puts them at seventh in the NFL in that category. That includes holding the Cincinnati Bengals, Washington Redskins and New York Giants to an average of 16.3 points the past three weeks.
Headed into Monday's game, the Steelers had allowed 5.9 yards per pass attempt (first in the NFL) while ceding 4.0 yards per carry (ninth).
Even if Roethlisberger is out or limited in the coming weeks, I still expect Pittsburgh to beat teams such as the Cleveland Browns (whom they face twice) and the San Diego Chargers, which would leave them with a 9-7 record at worst.
The Steelers and Indianapolis Colts are firmly set in the wild-card spots for the AFC at the moment with 6-3 records. The next two wild-card candidates, the Chargers and the Miami Dolphins, hold 4-5 records. Do you really see the Chargers or the Dolphins winning five of their next seven games this season?
Steelers fans can only hope that Roethlisberger will be 100 percent by the time the playoffs come around.
Until then, they shouldn't worry too much.
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