Ben Roethlisberger’s season is over after he suffered a non-contact right elbow injury in the first half of the Week 2 loss to Seattle. Roethlisberger will soon undergo surgery and be placed on injured reserve by the 0-2 Pittsburgh Steelers, coach Mike Tomin announced Monday.
Roethlisberger, the 37-year-old two-time Super Bowl champion, led the NFL in passing yards and interceptions last season before signing a two-year contract extension in April that keeps him in Pittsburgh through 2021. In his absence, Mason Rudolph, whom the Steelers traded up to select 76th overall a year ago, will guide the ship and showed promise in relief Sunday.
With the Steelers trading Joshua Dobbs to the Jacksonville Jaguars last week, it’s Rudolph’s show, plain and simple. Not counting his interception that clearly bounced off the hands of Donte Moncrief on Sunday, Rudolph completed 12-of-18 passes, including a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns, to keep Pittsburgh close vs. Russell Wilson’s Seahawks and earn high praise from his teammates.
Of course, Roethlisberger was working on reestablishing himself as the Steelers leader this year after a well-documented spat with Antonio Brown that led to the franchise’s second leading receiver all-time forcing his trade in the spring. Now, Roethlisberger likely must cede that role to Rudolph, as the win-less Steelers are already on the verge of ceding a division they have been on top of for the majority of Big Ben’s tenure.