The Pittsburgh Steelers have placed quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on the reserve/COVID-19 list and will miss Sunday's matchup with the Detroit Lions, the team announced Saturday evening. Currently, it is unclear if Roethlisberger tested positive or if he was considered a close contact with someone who has contracted the virus. In any event, because his placement on the reserve list is on the eve of Week 10, he does not have enough time to clear protocols to be able to play on Sunday.
With Roethlisberger out, Mason Rudolph will get the starting nod for Pittsburgh. Rudolph has started nine games for the Steelers in his career and has gone 5-4. His most recent start came back in Week 17 of 2020 when he completed 22 of 39 passes for 315 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in a 24-22 loss to Cleveland. In 15 regular season games played in his career, Rudolph has completed 61.7% of his passes, averaged 139.3 passing yards per game, and has 15 touchdowns to 10 interceptions.
Meanwhile, Roethlisberger did recently tell The Dan Patrick Show that he is vaccinated, so it is possible he can return for next Sunday's game against the Chargers. Had he been unvaccinated, he would have been ineligible to return in time.
The Steelers and Lions will kick off their Week 10 matchup from Heinz Field at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.
"Roethlisberger's absence probably doesn't matter too much in this matchup, especially with the Steelers leaning so heavily on the run lately. The Steelers haven't asked Roethlisberger to throw down the field much either, so Rudolph will likely be asked to simply manage the game -- especially if the Lions offense can't put pressure on them. Najee Harris should get his typical workload, and Diontae Johnson and Pat Freiermuth should see the majority of the targets. Johnson should still be a viable WR2 thanks to volume, while Freiermuth remains a decent starting tight end, though his chances of finding the end zone are obviously a bit slimmer." -- Chris Towers (CBS Sports Fantasy Analyst)