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How will Ben Roethlisberger injury affect the Steelers?

November 13, 2012|By Chuck Schilken
  • Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is sacked by Kansas City linebacker Tamba Hali on Monday night. Roethlisberger left the game with a right shoulder injury.
Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is sacked by Kansas City linebacker… (Don Wright / Associated…)

Ben Roethlisberger left the Pittsburgh Steelers' game Monday night against the Kansas City Chiefs with a shoulder injury severe enough to send him to the hospital for further examination.

Backup Byron Leftwich played just well enough to allow the Steelers to escape with a 16-13 overtime win. No. 3 quarterback Charlie Batch might suddenly become a popular guy among Pittsburgh fans if Big Ben isn't able to go Sunday night in a huge AFC North game against the Baltimore Ravens.

Roethlisberger doesn't miss many games, so neither of his backups have gotten a whole lot of work while with the Steelers. Leftwich, who has been injured most of the previous two seasons, hasn't started a game in his four years with the team.

The former Jacksonville Jaguars starter has completed 26 of 43 passes for 345 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions with the Steelers. Leftwich had not played in a regular-season game since 2010 until Monday night, when he completed seven of 14 passes for 73 yards.

Batch, on the other hand, has filled in quite admirably during his eight seasons in Pittsburgh, racking up a 5-2 record as a starter. But this is his 12th year in the NFL, and he hasn't even suited up for a game this season.

Coach Mike Tomlin would not speculate who his starter might be if Roethlisberger is unable to play Sunday.

The Steelers have gone 7-4 in games Roethlisberger has missed due to injury or suspension during his nine-year career, with either Batch or the since-departed Tommy Maddox or Dennis Dixon calling the signals. So it would seem Pittsburgh fans shouldn't have a whole lot to worry about if their franchise quarterback has to miss a game or more.

One problem, though. Three of those losses -- and none of the wins -- have come against the Ravens. And guess who the Steelers have to face in two of the next three games?

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