When Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger took an immediate trip from the field to the locker room on a cart after taking a Vontaze Burfict hit directly on his right shoulder, it seemed likely that the next update about his condition would involve talk of a broken collarbone or some other injury that precluded his return to the lineup.
As it turns out, Roethlisberger wasn’t done. He returned to the sideline with word from the team that he’d try to return to action, but watched Landry Jones and the offense sputter as the Bengals continued their comeback from 15 points down to take a 16-15 lead with 1:50 left to play. Jones then threw an interception that was followed by a Jeremy Hill fumble to give the Steelers the ball back. That’s when coach Mike Tomlin said he and Roethlisberger “kind of looked at each other and said now or never.”
“Coach came to me and asked me if I could do it, and I said I would give it everything that I’ve got,” Roethlisberger said.
Roethlisberger was 5-of-8 while keeping most of his throws short on the game-winning drive. The exception was a slightly longer throw to Antonio Brown that saw Burfict deliver a shot to Brown’s head, drawing a penalty that was followed by an Adam Jones personal foul and the winning field goal.
After the game, Roethlisberger said he told the coaches that he “couldn’t throw it that far” after one play call and didn’t answer a question about his outlook for next week. Tomlin said he had “no indication” whether Roethlisberger or Brown would be able to play in Denver and those should continue to be the two biggest questions of the week in Pittsburgh.