The good news for the Steelers? As Peter King pointed out on Twitter, they’ve lost their four games against the Ravens when Ben Roethlisberger was injured or suspended by only three points three times and only six points the other time.
The bad news for the Steelers? One of the key players on the teams that faced the Ravens four times without Roethlisberger thinks the Steelers will be sunk without their star quarterback if he’s not available for the two games that are coming up against the Ravens in the next three weeks.
Asked by Pro Football Talk co-host Erik Kuselias how things will go against the Ravens in Roethlisberger’s absence, former Steelers receiver and NBC analyst Hines Ward said, “Not very well for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Going out there, they’ve got to have Ben on the field. One thing about him, to be able to extend plays; get outside the pocket, that’s when he’s at his best. When you lose that element of the game and put Byron in there, a guy who is less mobile, now everybody can just pin back their ears and go with the pass rush and the blitz and they change their dynamics of play calling. So other guys have to go out and still make plays for Byron.”
The bigger picture doesn’t look good, either. Asked how far the Steelers can go without Roethlisberger, Ward said, “Not very far, not very far at all. He is their whole team. He is the leader of their team, he makes the offense go and all the guys around him, he makes them better. If Ben’s not on the field its very hard for the Pittsburgh Steelers to go to where they want to go.”
That’s not very good news for the Steelers, who while only one game behind the Ravens are only a couple of losses removed from the scrum that will emerge for the No. 6 seed in the AFC.