Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger tossed three interceptions against the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night, including two in or near the 49ers' end zone, as the Steelers fell to the 49ers, 20-3.
Roethlisberger suffered a Grade 1 sprain of his left ankle 11 days earlier and was considered a game-time decision after being limited throughout the week's practices. A similar injury had Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey ruled out for last night's game, but Roethlisberger was able to play, without the assistance of a pain-killing injection, Scott Brown of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
"We heard that (ESPN analyst) Steve Young and those guys say that before pre-game, 'Oh, he'll go shoot it up.' No we don't do that," Roethlisberger said. "They would never put me out there and endanger me or anybody on this team. There was no injection there was two Tylenols and two Advil."
The Steelers had already clinched an AFC Playoff berth when the Tennessee Titans lost to the Indianapolis Colts in the 1pm ET slate of games on Sunday, but had an opportunity Monday night to take a one-game lead over the Baltimore Ravens, who lost to the San Diego Chargers on Sunday night, in the AFC North race and lay claim to the No. 1 seed in the AFC Playoffs with a win over the 49ers.
With the Ravens and Steelers both losing in Week 15, both enter Week 16 with identical 10-4 records, but the Ravens hold the tiebreaker in the AFC North standings after sweeping the regular season series. At 11-3, the New England Patriots currently hold the No. 1 seed in the AFC. The Steelers are currently the fifth-seed.