Not to be lost in QB Ben Roethlisberger's brief departure, then return, from a high ankle sprain on Thursday night: C Maurkice Pouncey suffered the same kind of sprain — and couldn't come back into the game. (While head coach Mike Tomlin called both injuries high ankle sprains, the extent of the injuries are not yet known.) In addition, SS Troy Polamalu (hamstring) and DE Ziggy Hood (groin) left the game.
Last season, a high ankle sprain knocked Pouncey out of the 2010 AFC championship game, and he was not able to play in Super Bowl XLV. The Steelers had 14 days between the conference title game and the Super Bowl. The Steelers don't play again until Dec. 19, giving Pouncey 11 days between games to recuperate.
OLG Doug Legursky moved to center to replace Pouncey, the Steelers' best offensive lineman, with Chris Kemoeatu stepping in at left guard. Kemoeatu, the former starter at left guard, struggled vs. Browns DT Ahtyba Rubin and was flagged for three penalties.
Though Roethlisberger played in the second half, his mobility was significantly restricted, so the extra time off comes at a good time for Pittsburgh.