Steelers begin Mason Rudolph at QB vs. Browns

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin told the media on Tuesday that 38-year-old quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will not start Sunday’s regular season finale against the Cleveland Browns. Roethlisberger will rest, his first since leaving the team at Week 4, and backup Mason Rudolph will start instead.

# Steelers trainer Mike Tomlin says that with the one goodbye that is unavailable, he will indeed be resting major starters this weekend. Says, “If we have the chance to airmail a player or two in the postseason, we will.” #Browns, you will see Mason Rudolph and not Ben Roethlisberger Sunday.

– Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) December 29, 2020

It may seem like the Steelers are poking week 17, but they don’t have much to play. You have already won the AFC North and cannot finish lower than number 3 in the AFC. The Kansas City Chiefs have already imprisoned the AFC’s # 1, and with only one farewell per conference this season, there’s little benefit in risking their starters to win a game that is largely meaningless.

Seed # 2 is not entirely meaningless. If the Steelers beat the Browns and the Buffalo Bills lose to the Miami Dolphins, they’ll secure number 2 and will be the last team to make the playoffs.

Tomlin said other key starters will be seated on Sunday but haven’t given any names yet. With the Browns’ playoff hopes on the line after losing to the New York Jets in Week 16, they have to thank their lucky stars that the Steelers have nothing to play for and will start some second visitors.

The game could still be quite tense, however. The last time Rudolph faced the Browns, Myles Garrett served him a helmeted face during a fight in the field. But since the Browns’ playoff chances depend on beating the Steelers, they will likely leave the past drama and focus on ending their 17-year playoff drought.

The story goes on

Mason Rudolph will be the Steelers’ starting quarterback in week 17, and Ben Roethlisberger will have a week off. (Photo by Michael Hickey / Getty Images)

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