The Pittsburgh Steelers made it official on Wednesday- Byron Leftwich will start at quarterback for the injured Ben Roethlisberger, Sunday night against the Baltimore Ravens.
Roethlisberger, who has been diagnosed with a sprained shoulder, also suffered damage to his ribs Monday night.
ESPN reports the rib injury, which happened on the same play, is rare and dangerous and of greater concern to the Steelers and team doctors than his shoulder injury. They also report that doctors are concerned that the quarterback’s rib injury could lead to more internal damage if he were to play anytime soon.
That brings me to Leftwich, who gets the nod as the starter.
He’s a veteran who will take care of the ball.
Since he joined the Steelers in 2008, Leftwich has attempted 145 passes (including preseason) and has yet to throw an interception. He is an accurate passer and completed seven of his final 11 pass attempts Monday night.
He can hit the wide open receiver, but moving the team consistently is a different story altogether. When a play needs made, who knows if Leftwich is capable of making them? Monday was the first game action he has seen since 2010 and he hasn’t started a game since 2009 for the Tampa bay Buccaneers.
He is a sitting duck in the pocket and takes a long time to get rid of the football, but he is a veteran who will be ready. The Steelers offensive line will be under a lot of pressure to keep Leftwich upright, because you know the Ravens are going to come after him.
Of the 137 games the Steelers have played since Roethlisberger’s first season of 2004, he has missed 14, including his four-game suspension in 2010. In that span, Pittsburgh is 86-37 (.699) with its franchise quarterback and 9-5 (.643) without him. The Steelers have never beaten the Ravens in that span without Roethlisberger under center.