Steelers QB Roethlisberger’s Elbow Looks Good, But Something Don’t Look Right



Ben Roethlisberger starts in his first game since Week 2 in 2019. – Photo by Essentially Sports

Before entering the 2020 NFL season, Steelers fans were divided on how well Big Ben would perform this year. Roethlisberger, age 38,  suffered a season-ending injury in week 2 last year against Seattle and had to get Tommy John surgery to repair his elbow. When training camp began in late July, a lot of Steelers Nation was hyping him up, thinking they were going to get a vintage 2010 version of Ben Roethlisberger. Fans saw how well the defense played last season, racking up a league-high 38 takeaways and 54 sacks while going 8-8 with Mason Rudolph and Devlin “Duck” Hodges at QB. Fans figure that if the Steelers get Ben for a whole year, they’ll be back to competing for Super Bowls. Other fans however are a little hesitant about Roethlisberger’s abilities because of the timing and severity of the injury. They think that an older QB in the NFL coming off of a major injury will not be the scapegoat the Steelers need. Regardless of what fans think Big Ben will provide a jolt back into the offense that the Steelers lacked last year.

In week one against the New York Giants on Monday Night Football, the Steelers looked a lot better than expected. The defense was as advertised which caused Giants QB Daniel Jones to make many mistakes which was a big factor in their win. Then again all the Steelers had to do was show up and they’d win. As for Ben Rothelesberger, he looked solid in his first NFL action in a little under the year throwing for three touchdowns and had no interceptions. Despite the quality production from Ben, there was the feeling that something was off about him. He is usually a guy that isn’t afraid to throw the ball deep but instead in this game he was throwing more check-downs and short passes. There was also the situation in the first quarter where Rothlesberger had to tuck and run for yards and in the middle of that, he grabbed his hamstring. This turned out to be a false alarm and wasn’t an issue that persisted throughout the game.

The next game, the team played sloppily against the Denver Broncos. The first half was really good, and the Steelers were piling on points. Drew Lock, Denver’s QB had to come out of the game due to a collarbone injury, and the defense was able to neutralize the passing game from the former Bengal and Lion backup QB Jeff Driskel who was thrusted into the game to replace Lock. Then the second half came around and the Steeler tradition of playing down to their competition was happening because the defense started to bend and the Broncos were able to trim the Steelers’ lead to 5. Thankfully, the defense never broke to Driskel. The Steelers walked away with a five point win. Despite the 84 yard TD pass to Steelers rookie receiver Chase Claypool and throwing for 311 yards and another touchdown, Ben Roethlisberger didn’t look like the QB the Steelers are accustomed to seeing on a weekly basis. Ben was limiting himself to short passes for the second week in a row, and Claypool’s 84-yard touchdown was more so Chase breaking tackles and outrunning defenders across over half of the field. Also, one of Roethlisberger’s 41 pass attempts was picked off by Denver safety Justin Simmons. So this game was just an average day at the office for Big Ben.

Roethlisberger has seemed to play about in the middle of the opposing expectations. He looks to be a serviceable quarterback again that is better than more than half of the other starters in the league. Although there is still room for improvement for Big Ben, he needs to start throwing the ball deep to his fast wide receivers so they can create big plays. Also, one bad hit and Ben could get sidelined very fast, and considering how players are dropping like flies with injuries, the Steelers offensive line needs to protect Rothlesberger like he’s a fragile piece of china. His elbow seems to be holding up…for now, and the hamstring incident wasn’t a pretty sight either despite it being insignificant to his overall health. What will the future hold for the Steelers? Who knows, but the Steelers’ fast start to the season should help with that.