- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been officially ruled out for Sunday's game at the Ravens.
This hurts the Steelers' chances of catching the Ravens for the AFC North title. Baltimore (9-2) already leads Pittsburgh by three games and can eliminate the Steelers by beating its division rival Sunday.
But there really wasn't much of a decision with Roethlisberger even though he has been limited in practice all week. He simply couldn't throw the ball the way he wanted to because of the rib and shoulder injuries.
If Roethlisberger could play, he would. His history of battling through pain is well-known. Roethlisberger, though, learned last season that it's best to sit if he can't help the team.
Last December, Roethlisberger tried to gut it out with an ankle sprain in San Francisco. He committed four turnovers (three interceptions and one fumble) and never got the Steelers within a sniff of the end zone (the closest was the 19-yard line) in a 20-3 loss. The 49ers scored 13 of their 20 points off Roethlisberger's turnovers.
After the game, Roethlisberger told reporters: "I was probably the best 49er tonight. It’s very frustrating. You feel like you let down your team, your fans and your coaches. It’s tough."
Roethlisberger doesn't want to be the best Raven out on the field Sunday. Not playing right now is probably more painful for Roethlisberger than his current injuries. But he is expected to return next week against San Diego. The Steelers are still in the wild-card race, and Roethlisberger can provide a big boost for the final four weeks. It's all about when Roethlisberger feels that he can help the Steelers win and not be the reason why they lost.