The Grade I ankle sprain that limited the effectiveness of Pittsburgh Steelers star Ben Roethlisberger in Monday's loss to the San Francisco 49ers - no touchdown passes, three interceptions, and three sacks for 25 yards lost - will likely sideline him for Saturday's matchup against the St. Louis Rams, reports Jason La Canfora of NFL Network. "Steelers officials would be shocked if Ben plays this week," he writes. "[They] [f]ully expect him to rest at least one week." However, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has yet to make an official announcement about his quarterback's availability against St. Louis.
But when asked Wednesday about the news he might sit Saturday, Roethlisberger told the media, "That's news to me," according to Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
The loss to San Francisco dropped Pittsburgh into a 10-4 tie with the Baltimore Ravens for the AFC North lead. Because the Ravens own the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Steelers, Pittsburgh must finish with a better record than Baltimore in order to win the division outright and secure a first-round playoff bye.
Saturday's game pits the Steelers against a 2-12 Rams team in the midst of a five-game losing streak. Quarterback Sam Bradford, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, will miss the rest of the season due to injury, leaving the quarterbacking duties to A.J. Feeley and Kellen Clemens. The 34-year-old Feeley has completed 56.5 percent of his passes, with one touchdown and two interceptions, in three starts for Bradford in 2011. A right thumb injury ruled him out of Sunday's loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, in which Clemens started and threw for 229 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions.
Kickoff between the Steelers and Rams is set for 1 PM this Saturday, Dec. 24. FOX will have the television broadcast, while WDVE 102.5 FM and 970 AM will have the radio broadcast.
For more on the Steelers, please visit Behind the Steel Curtain, SB Nation's Steelers blog. For the perspective from the other side, please visit SB Nation St. Louis and Turf Show Times, SB Nation's Rams blog.