The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback suffered the injury during the wild card round when Vontaze Burfict slammed him into the ground on a hard, legal sack (video here). He would return late in the fourth quarter to lead the final drive of the game, but it was quite clear Roethlisberger couldn’t push the ball downfield.
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He later revealed that he had torn ligaments in his throwing shoulder, so it was surprising when he opened the game against Denver with a long throw right off the bat. It appeared his arm was just fine.
But as the game wore on it became clear that Roethlisberger wasn’t playing with a full deck.
Aqib Talib: Ben was healthy as hell. He didn’t fool anybody
Some credit must be ascribed to the Broncos, who feature one of the most outstanding defenses in the league. That said, Big Ben wasn’t his normal, accurate self. He did make some big plays but when asked to fit the ball into a window his accuracy wasn’t there. He finished the game with 339 yards on 24-of-37 passing, with much of the damage being done after the catch by Martavis Bryant and Sammie Coates.
Most notably, Roethlisberger didn’t have a touchdown in the game.
Speaking on 93.7 The Fan, via Sean Wagner-McGough of CBS Pittsburgh, the quarterback expressed his surprise that he was being accused of being a faker:
“You know, it’s just unfortunate. You know me, I’ll never use an injury as an excuse. You just got to play better all around football. Doc was right, it definitely was sore yesterday and today.”
During the broadcast Sunday, it was revealed that Roethlisberger had his shoulder numbed before the game. With that in mind it’s understandable that he was able to play through the pain and make throws down the field.
After all, it’s not like the guy’s shoulder was dangling by one lone ligament.
Guys like Talib should just win with grace, rather than throwing stones at the loser after he’s already been defeated. Just because he didn’t look like Alex Smith out there, dinking and dunking it four yards down the field, doesn’t mean Roethlisberger wasn’t hurt.
He did reveal that surgery isn’t needed to repair his shoulder, saying “I guess the ligaments will, you know, scar up and heal on their own.”