Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 11/23/12
By now you probably already know the tale of Ben Roethlisberger and his dislodged rib.The starting quarterback suffered a rib injury that would leave him sitting the bench indefinitely during the Kansas City game in Week 10.Chances are if you know that story you also know about backup quarterback Byron Leftwich, and wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery and their rib injuries that they suffered last week against divisional foe, the Baltimore Ravens. What does that leave us with?Well, a slew of key players going down with rib injuries on a team that has already had durability issues this season. Now down to their third quarterback of the season, Pittsburgh, heads in to Cleveland to take on a beaten down Browns team. The Cleveland Browns have had their fair share of injuries this season, and too are looking at a totally different depth chart. Despite holding a 2-8 record the Browns have been in many situations of losing by a touchdown or less in six games this season. A very young offense can mostly to blame for this unsuccessful season. Lead by rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden, as well as a rookie running back in Trent Richardson, this offense has shown inconsistency all season.Weeden has completed only 55.3 percent of his passes for 2,298 yards and 11 touchdowns. Not completely horrible for a rookie, but he has thrown 12 interceptions thus far this season. Going up against the first ranked Pittsburgh Steelers' defense this week is going to prove as the toughest challenge yet of his short career. Granted, the Steelers have not forced many interceptions this season. If they can confuse Weeden and get him to start feeling uncomfortable it can be a great gain for this defense. Rookie Trent Richardson was one of the highest sought after running backs in this year's Draft. He hasn't proven that he was worth the 3rd overall pick yet with only 670 yards and five touchdowns.He too has shown much inconsistency as a rusher, and has gone over the century mark only three times this season. Pittsburgh has the 5th ranked rushing defense and is allowing only 89.8 yards per game to opposing rushers. Third-string quarterback Charlie Batch will make his season debut this week against a hobbled Cleveland Browns defense. Batch, 37, is 5-2 filling in as Ben Roethlisberger's backup. He will have a new familiar target to throw to in Plaxico Burress. The Steelers went out and signed Burress after Sunday night's loss to the Ravens. This game is a tone setting one for the rest of the season for the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is their chance to prove the "next man up" mentality, and show everyone their intentions for this season.A win in Cleveland won't come easy though with many of the key pieces needing time to adjust, and shake off the cob webs. Look for a slow starting game, and a possible surge in the second half.
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