Dunlap: Steelers Season Feels Done With Ben Injury
The season is done.
Sure feels that way.
An overreaction? Man, I don't know. You really think these Steelers can go somewhere with a guy who couldn't find a job not too long ago as their starting quarterback; as the man now charged with the duty of commanding an offense boasting the firepower of Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell?
Sorry, I guess I'll just come out and say what I've been dragging along ...
The Steelers aren't going anywhere without Ben Roethlisberger.
The Steelers aren't going anywhere with Mike Vick.
The Steelers 2015 season is, for the most part, done.
It ended for the most part with about 5:35 left in the third quarter on Sunday in St. Louis when Roethlisberger was felled by a blow that looked terrible from the initial contact, then continued to look worse as Big Ben clutched his knee before the play was so much as whistled dead.
But the 2015 Steelers season truly came to an end in a series of postgame snapshots when no news seemed to be obvious bad news. First there was Roethlisberger --- with the aid of crutches under each armpit and a heavy brace on his knee --- shuffling through the underbelly of the stadium, tight-lipped, his face sullen and flanked by Steelers public relations man Burt Lauten and head of security Jack Kearney.
The clank-clanking of the crutches hitting that ground in rhythm as Ben kept his head squarely down all had the feel of a funeral dirge.
Then there was Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who stepped to his postgame pulpit and delivered the succinct yet profound "Ben is being evaluated and will have an MRI."
It was no news.
Not good news, not bad news ---- but in this case (and this is just opinion) it didn't resonate with much hope.
Make no mistake, the Steelers have found a capable backup running back in DeAngelo Williams and the collection of receivers has a decent shot to come together and perform admirably if anything (God forbid) were to happen to Antonio Brown.
But Roethlisberger is the one guy, and it isn't close, this team simply cannot play without and hope to go anywhere.
Not to sound too morose, gloomy or pessimistic, but even if Mike Vick has to only play for a month, how much chance do you give him of winning some football games and keeping the Steelers afloat? I give him close to none.
And if Roethlisberger is out for a prolonged period, this team is flatly done for 2015.
Was the play wherein St. Louis safety Mark Barron hit Roethlisberger just below his left knee and Big Ben immediately tumbled to the torched turf a dirty one?
Hard to say.
By definition of the rule, it probably was and a flag could have been tossed, granting the Steelers a first down and Vick an easier route immediately upon entering for his fallen cohort.
All that said, it would have provided little consolation as No. 7 was being loaded onto a cart to be wheeled to the locker room.
Just as what Tomlin said --- or really didn't say --- and the way Roethlisberger was shuttling through the catacombs of the stadium after the game gives me little hope this season will turn out to be anything but disaster for the Steelers.
To me at least, it kind of feels like it could be over.
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