Ben Roethlisberger Injury Update: Steelers Quarterback Could Miss Next Week’s Game Against Broncos Despite Leading Last-Minute Comeback

Ben Roethlisberger braved through injury, having his Willis Reed moment as he led the Pittsburgh Steelers to a last-minute wild card victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

But despite coming back from what looking to be a game-ending injury, Roethlisberger’s status is still up in the air as the team moves on to face the top-seeded Denver Broncos.

Ben Roethlisberger suffered the right shoulder injury in the closing seconds of the third quarter, when Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict sacked him, ESPN reported. Landry Jones came in to relieve Roethlisberger, and the Bengals went on a rally that erased a 15-point Steelers lead.

After the Bengals kicked a go-ahead field goal, the Steelers took the ball for what looked to be one final chance at winning the game. Those hopes appeared dashed when Jones threw an interception that put the Bengals deep in Steelers territory, but a Jeremy Hill fumble gave the Steelers one more chance with 1:23 remaining.

That’s when the Steelers turned back to Ben Roethlisberger, who had come running out of the tunnel and back to the field in a move reminiscent of New York Knicks forward Willis Reed in Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals.

As crazy as the contest had been up until that point, the next minute was even wilder. Roethlisberger got the Steelers to close to midfield with less than 20 seconds remaining, then sailed a pass over the head of receiver Antonio Brown. But on the play, Burfict came in fast and delivered a punishing blow to the defenseless receiver’s head, leading to a 15-yard penalty.

In the chaos that ensued on the field after the play — with medical staff still attending to Brown — Steelers linebacker coach and former player Joey Porter somehow ended up amidst some Bengals defenders, getting into an altercation with cornerback Pacman Jones. The Bengals were hit with a second 15-yard penalty, and the Steelers were able to hit a short field goal that won the game.

Despite the thrilling win, some of the wind was out of the Steelers’ sails after the game as they waited for an update on the injuries to both Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown.

Afterward, coach Mike Tomlin confirmed that Brown had a concussion, but the word was less clear on Ben Roethlisberger’s injury.

From ESPN:

“Roethlisberger did not want to address the extent of the injury in his postgame news conference, saying ‘we won the game’ when asked what news he received from trainers in the locker room. He’s scheduled to have additional exams on Sunday.

“Roethlisberger said he was in ‘a lot’ of pain on that final drive. He told coaches he couldn’t take any deep shots to the end zone because he couldn’t throw the ball that far.

“‘I’m going to give everything I can,’ said Roethlisberger about playing in the AFC divisional round on Sunday at Denver.”

The Ben Roethlisberger injury could be huge. The Bengals have one of the top defenses in the league, and the Steelers have relied on their high-powered offense to reach 10 wins this year. As noted, it was clear that Roethlisberger was far from 100 percent when he returned for the final drive, as he stuck mostly to short passes and seemed in pain, so his availability for next week’s game will be one of the biggest stories in the coming week.

The Steelers are expected to know more about Ben Roethlisberger’s injury and his status for next week’s game in the coming day or two.

[Picture by Andy Lyons/Getty Images]

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