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Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, 39, has been declared OUT for Sunday’s contest against the Detroit Lions. Late Saturday, the Steelers announced that Roethlisberger entered the League’s reserve/COVID-19 list.
Per the early reporting on Roethlisberger’s absence, backup Mason Rudolph will be slated to start in place of Ben. Rudolph’s greatest sample size in the League came in 2019 when Roethlisberger missed the season after a Week 2 elbow injury. In his ten appearances that season, Rudolph amassed 1,765 passing yards, 13 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Going against the winless Detroit Lions may prove to be Rudolph’s easiest segue back into a starter’s role. FanDuel odds side with the Steelers (-6.5) as victors, despite having an offense (with Roethlisberger) just a hair above the Lions’ new attack under Jared Goff. Steelers rookie running back Najee Harris has produced some highlight-worthy moments, but has only put up a meager 3.6 yards per carry this season — joining the offense’s sixth-worst total for yards per play (5.1).
Lions are ranked for fifth worst at 5.0 yards per play.
Throughout eight games this season, Roethlisberger has thrown for 1,986 yards, 10 touchdowns and four turnovers — a sub-par stat line emblematic of the team’s crawl to a 5-3 record. TJ Watt and the defense retain the identity of this team, but will have to get through Penei Sewell — the Oregon rookie proving to hold his own against the league’s best defenders.
While the Lions are nowhere close to becoming the favorites, they’re also facing a prime shot at an upset — with Roethlisberger gone — against Mike Tomlin’s team.
Roethlisberger has previously stated that he received the COVID-19 vaccine, thus avoiding the requisite 10-day quarantine window for unvaccinated players that would have kept him sidelined for Week 11’s matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela