Steelers coach Mike Tomlin likely anticipated starting QB Ben Roethlisberger leaving Sunday’s game against the Browns early, but not under the conditions that unfolded at Heinz Field. Roethlisberger had to be immobilized and carted off the field after suffering a concussion late in the second quarter against the Browns.
Tomlin gave a favorable report following the Steelers’ 31-0 win.
“To this point, all the tests are negative, which, of course, is positive,” Tomlin said during his postgame press conference. ”We’re optimistic about where he’s going to be capable of being. Again, the bye is going to be helpful in regards to that. … [Tests] are negative, which is encouraging.”
Roethlisberger was hurt with 1:48 remaining in the half (video) when he was hit by Browns LBs D’Qwell Jackson and Willie McGinest after a pass attempt. He was down on the field and being checked by trainers for over 10 minutes, and as he stayed down, teammates began to form a circle around the area on the field. Roethlisberger, who appeared to hit the back of his head on the turf when he came down, could be seen talking and was showing some movement. One trainer near his head was holding Roethlisberger’s helmet with both hands, as is the normal precaution when players suffer concussions or head/neck injuries.
Team personnel put Roethlisberger on a stretcher, removed the face mask from his helmet and carted him off the field. Roethlisberger gave a thumbs-up to cheers from the Heinz Field crowd as he was carted to the locker room.
Byron Leftwich replaced Roethlisberger, finishing 7-of-12 for 80 yards, along with an 8-yard touchdown run. Roethlisberger was 9-of-14 for 110 yards and an interception before leaving.