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Monday, December 19, 2011
Decision on Big Ben affects game plan

By Jamison Hensley


SAN FRANCISCO — Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is a game-time decision for tonight's game against the 49ers, a source told ESPN.

Whether Roethlisberger plays will determine the type of offense the Steelers put on the field. Even with an injured Roethlisberger, the Steelers will be a more pass-oriented team. Without him, Pittsburgh will be a run-first offense.

When Roethlisberger was suspended for four games at the start of the 2010 season, running back Rashard Mendenhall had more carries than the Steelers had pass attempts in three of those four weeks. He averaged 102.7 yards rushing during that time.

Roethlisberger has carried the offense this season, throwing at least 30 passes in 10 of 13 games. He's continued to throw a high number of passes even though he has battled a foot injury and a fractured right thumb.

After Roethlisberger sustained a high-ankle sprain 11 days ago, he completed eight of 12 passes for 178 yards but he had trouble throwing deep because he couldn't put all of his weight on that left leg.

If he plays, Roethlisberger will wear a brace to stabilize his ankle.