Mark Madden

Mark Madden

The Super Genius of Pittsburgh Sports.Full Bio



Ben Roethlisberger is listed as questionable for the Steelers’ game against Washington. He’s got a bum knee, but is almost certainly going to play. Roethlisberger participated in Sunday's walk-through.

Let me play devil’s advocate: I’d sit Roethlisberger. 

The Steelers could beat Washington with Mason Rudolph at quarterback. Washington doesn’t stink, but isn’t good. Washington is 4-7 and plays in the NFC East, the NFL's worst division.

The Steelers are 11-0. They have wiggle room. They lead the AFC North by three games. They lead Kansas City by a game in the race for the AFC’s lone playoff bye. 

The latter margin is minute, but the risk might be worth it to protect Roethlisberger, by far the team’s most important asset. The Steelers have a few challenging games left, but none tougher than the Chiefs’ visit to New Orleans on Dec. 20. 

Sitting Roethlisberger vs. Washington protects his knee and rests his elbow. The Steelers closely monitor Roethlisberger’s elbow, which got reassembled by surgery in the off-season. 

Washington has 36 sacks. Only the Steelers (41) have more. If Roethlisberger is gimpy, get him out of harm’s way for a game.

The Steelers have had a busy, uncertain, unusual schedule. Roethlisberger would go from having a short week to having a long week.

Not playing Roethlisberger is best in the context of the big picture. But the Steelers never think big picture. The Steelers never look past the next game. 

So, Roethlisberger will play. 

Perhaps the Steelers could run the ball more. That’s crazy talk, I know. 

Courtesy of Getty Images

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