Ben Roethlisberger sidelined for the Steelers
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Ben Roethlisberger is Done for the Season

Ben Roethlisberger is done for the year. The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback will miss the rest of the 2019 season after suffering a freak elbow injury during Sunday nights defeat to the Seattle Seahawks. With Mason Rudolph at the helm. Where do the Steelers go from here?

After a lackluster performance in week 1 against the Patriots, the Steelers were hoping to have a bounce back win against the Seahawks on Sunday. All was going well until Roethliserger left the game clutching his elbow after throwing a deep pass on the final drive of the first half.

Roethlisberger has only missed 20 games since becoming the starter in 2004. But the two time Superbowl winner has now thrown his last pass of 2019. Step up Mason Rudolph.

“Ben Roethlisberger had an MRI on his right elbow Sunday evening and it was determined by the Steelers’ medical team that surgery will be required … He will be placed on our Reserve/Injured List and is out for the season.”

Mike Tomlin Statement from Steelers.com

Ben Roethlisberger’s Replacement

Big Ben was replaced for the second half by backup QB Mason Rudolph, who is in his second year coming out of Oklahoma State. But, can Rudolph save the Steelers’ season?

It is clear the Steelers are not going to get the same production from Rudolph that they would have from Roethlisberger. At 0-2 Pittsburgh are scrapping to save their season. Although, they seem to be happy to trust Rudolph with the keys to the car. 

There is a strangely ominous comparison in how Ben Roethlisberger started his career and how Mason Rudolph has started his. Roethlisberger’s career started in 2004 when Steelers QB Tommy Maddox was injured in the second game of the campaign. Big Ben started the rest of the 2004 season and went 13-0. No-one is expecting a repeat of those results.

With a serious loss of talent across the Steelers’ offense since 2018 some will assume the Steelers are in full rebuild mode. You have to expect a drop off when you take away superstars and add youngsters. Not even the Steelers would have believed the unfortunate start to the season they are enduring.

Running back James Conner is also day to day with a knee injury. Although, the Steelers have said they are confident he starts week 3 against the San Francisco 49ers. The full rebuild mode debate will rumble on.

Credit: @NFL_DovKleiman

Outlandish Trade

We shouldn’t jump to any conclusions though. Well at least that’s the impression coming out of the Steelers organisation. Pittsburgh seem to be happy with Mason Rudolph leading the team and have also completed an outlandish trade for Minkah Fitzpatrick from the Miami Dolphins. 

In a bold move, the Steelers have given up their first round pick of the 2020 draft to get Fitzpatrick.

The defensive back is a highly rated talent on a rookie contract. Don’t be fooled, the Steelers’ fan base expects to win right now.  The Steelers are always in win now mode.

The Steelers are no longer the favourites to win their division. With the Baltimore Ravens flying high, it’s now difficult to see the Steelers as playoff contenders. As eyes now turn to Mason Rudolph to save the Steelers’ season from disarray, is this an end of an era in Pittsburgh?

Feature Image Credit: CBSSports.com

Article written by:

Owain is a Welshman living in Newcastle and has been an Atlanta Falcons fan since 2007. He shares thoughts on the AFC North for us at Ninety-Nine Yards. You can follow him on twitter @Owain_Jones_

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