“It was one of the most painful things I’ve ever felt,” Roethlisberger said.
Fortunately for Roethlisberger and the Steelers, X-rays came back negative. The diagnosis was a high-ankle sprain, not a break.
Roethlisberger was able to re-enter the game. He started the second half and finished what became a 14-3 Steelers’ triumph with a 79-yard catch-and-run by wide receiver
“I’m glad he scored, because I wouldn’t have made it all the way down there if we had to run another play,” Roethlisberger said.
The touchdown pass, Roethlisberger’s second of the game, finished off a 16-for-21, 280-yard performance as well as the Browns.
Although he had no mobility in the second half and admitted to abandoning “all my rules and techniques” on handoffs, Roethlisberger was determined to finish what he’d started.
“I don’t want to let my guys down,” he said. “I was going to give it a go and be out there as best I could.”
His teammates were as appreciative of Roethlisberger’s effort as they were relieved to survive Cleveland. A sampling:
Brown: “Man, he exemplifies toughness, an amazing quarterback to play with, he’s special. He wouldn’t let us down. He came out of the locker room, sucked it up, taped it up, I mean, that guy’s a pro, man. I’m just grateful to play with a quarterback such as him.”
And finally, defensive end
The decision to stick with Roethlisberger in the second half was ultimately Coach Mike Tomlin’s call.
“The doctors said he was OK to go,” Tomlin said. “He wanted to go. I will always give him an opportunity to show what he is capable of. We know what kind of competitor he is. We know his pain tolerance. We know what he’s capable of.”