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Steelers need to rest Roethlisberger the next two weeks

I can't blame the Pittsburgh Steelers for starting a hobbled Ben Roethlisberger against the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night.

A win put them in the driver's seat in the AFC, and Roethlisberger gave the Steelers the best chance to win.

It didn't work out.

It was obvious that Roethlisberger had trouble and it hurt the Steelers throughout the night. He couldn't scramble, he couldn't follow through on his throws and he couldn't heave the long ball.

I can't imagine Charlie Batch or Dennis Dixon doing much worse. After all, the Steelers scored just three points.

With little chance to win the division, coach Mike Tomlin should rest Roethlisberger the rest of the season.

He should give Big Ben a big break, let him heal as much as possible and have him ready for the playoffs.

The Baltimore Ravens aren't going to lose in the next two weeks against the Browns and Bengals, which would wrap up the AFC North.

That makes these next two games against the Rams and Browns essentially meaningless.

The best bet for a deep playoff run is with a healthy Big Ben.

Hopefully Tomlin recognizes that.


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So much for Byron the great backup

I never understood the Steelers' fascination with their backup quarterbacks.

They've had either Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich for what seems like ages now.

And when the Steelers really needed a backup, Leftwich couldn't deliver.

Leftwich rambled 31 yards for a touchdown Sunday against the Ravens, but other than that burst, the Steelers couldn't do anything on offense in a 13-10 loss that puts them in a bad position in the AFC North.

Leftwich, with his long delivery, looks better suited for the Pirates' bullpen than behind center.

He went 18-for-39 passing for 201 yards, but couldn't help a Steelers' offense that looks lost right now.

The Ravens came into the game with a weak defense. The thought was Leftwich could manage the game, the Steelers could find a running back to rely on and they'd escape with a win.

It didn't work out that way.

And it looks like we could see Batch at QB this week -- or someone else.

The Steelers are worried about Leftw…