It’s generally not a good sign when your starting quarterback fails to take the field for the second half, and that is what the Pittsburgh Steelers experienced earlier this evening. Though he finished out the first half, Ben Roethlisberger suffered a rib injury on a sack and remained in the locker room to start the third quarter.
Though he came back to the sideline afterward, Joshua Dobbs remained in the game. He was able to pick up a couple of first downs with his legs early, but things started to get more complicated after that. He narrowly avoided what I believe should have been ruled a strip sack fumble that Oakland recovered, but then threw an interception on the following play.
Dobbs was looking for Antonio Brown over the middle of the field with Gareon Conley in coverage. The wobbly pass was redirected enough by the cornerback to prevent a completion, allowing Tahir Whitehead to respond to the falling ball, picking it off.
Though Roethlisberger remained on the sideline, Dobbs stayed in the game following the play, beginning the next drive with a short screen pass to Brown to give him an easy completion for six yards. Jaylen Samuels lost yardage, but JuJu Smith-Schuster did his quarterback no favors failing to make the third-down catch, with Conley playing through the catch.
Roethlisberger was seen stretching and flexing on the sideline during that first drive in the fourth quarter, still hoping to return to the game. After the Raiders proceeded to drive down the field for the go-ahead score, Derek Carr finding Lee Smith from the three-yard line, Big Ben had his helmet back on, needing to bring the Steelers back from now a three-point deficit.
So Dobbs got about a quarter and a half of action and failed to produce any points, spared of one turnover before committing another. The two conversions with his legs were helpful, but he completed just four of nine passes for 24 yards and an interception, struggling with both placement and velocity.
Tonight was the fifth game in which Dobbs has appeared this season, though only the third in which he attempted a pass. He came in for one play for a huge conversion on a 22-yard pass against the Baltimore Ravens, but then completed just one of two passes for minus-three yards at the end of a blowout win against the Carolina Panthers.
The Steelers tried to leave Roethlisberger out of the game with the rib injury, but once they lost the lead, the decision had to be made. He came back into the game and immediately led a go-ahead drive, yet another comeback for the future Hall of Famer. One that they were hoping to avoid. Of course, the Raiders, and Chris Boswell, would spoil another comeback victory for him.