On Sunday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Steelers used an incredible comeback effort to take down the Indianapolis Colts.
Pittsburgh outscored Indianapolis 21-3 in the second half en route to a 28-24 win. The Steelers clinched the AFC North title with that win and locked in at least the No. 3 seed in the AFC playoffs.
With one game remaining, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin announced he will rest several starters in Sunday’s game against Cleveland. The Browns will see backup quarterback Mason Rudolph instead of Ben Roethlisberger.
Tomlin opened up on his decision to make a change at the quarterback position for the final game of the season. “Given an opportunity to airmail a player or two into the postseason, we’ll do that,” Tomlin said via Steelers reporter Aditi Kinkhabwala.
#Steelers coach Mike Tomlin says w/ the one bye not available, he will indeed rest key starters this weekend. Says, “Given an opportunity to airmail a player or two into the postseason, we’ll do that.” #Browns, you’ll see Mason Rudolph and not Ben Roethlisberger Sunday.
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) December 29, 2020
Tomlin’s decision likely would have been different if the NFL didn’t change it playoff format for the 2020 season. By expanding the playoffs to seven teams, the league took away a bye for the No. 2 seed.
If the No. 2 seed still had a bye, Tomlin likely would have had Ben Roethlisberger start the game. Every team competing for the final two spots in the AFC playoff race is a legitimate contender.
That also works into the decision to start Mason Rudolph. The No. 2 seed won’t have a marked advantage over the No. 3 seed in terms of first-round opponent.
Pittsburgh and Cleveland kick off this weekend at 1:00 p.m. ET.
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