Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger out Sunday vs. Lions
The odds the Detroit Lions get a win on Sunday just got a lot better, with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
The Detroit Lions have only beaten the Pittsburgh Steelers twice in the Super Bowl era, and they haven’t won in Pittsburgh since 1955. The odds they end that latter streak got better Saturday night, with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. He is out for Sunday’s game against the Lions.
Roethslisberger has said he’s vaccinated, but with less than 24 hours before Sunday’s kickoff there’s no chance he can test negative and play. So Mason Rudolph is expected to start under center for the home team on Sunday. Dwayne Haskins will be active for the first time all season, and serve as the backup.
Rudolph will be making his 10th career start, eight of which came in 2019 when Roethlisberger missed 14 games with an elbow injury. He is a career 61.7 percent passer, with 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions over 15 total games.
Could the Lions get their first win of the season on Sunday?
On the Roethlisberger news, the betting lines have moved toward the Lions pretty significantly.
As limited as Roethlisberger is these days, there’s an argument Rudolph won’t be worse and he could even be better in some ways. In particular, he can probably move around in the pocket a little better than Roethlisberger or even take off and run without being timed by a sundial. ESPN’s Brooke Pryor reminded the world Rudolph got first-team practice reps this past week when Roethlisberger sat out on a short week for the Steelers.
The Steelers will surely lean on running back Najee Harris even more than they already do on Sunday, which isn’t a great development for the Lions’ 29th-ranked run defense. A stingy Pittsburgh defense also remains intact, pending results of team COVID testing Sunday morning that could also remove other key players on offense from the game if they test positive.
The Steelers weren’t likely to blow the Lions out on Sunday with Roethlisberger under center. Now, with the switch to Rudolph/Haskins, Detroit’s chances to leave Heinz Field as winners Sunday afternoon look pretty legit if they can play a fairly clean game in what’s forecasted to be snowy conditions.