BALTIMORE — For a brief moment on Sunday it looked like the Josh Dobbs backup era in Pittsburgh was ready to begin. Ben Roethlisberger rolled right, scrambled, was dragged down by Za'Darius Smith ... and then didn't get up.
From the end of the field, all I could see was Roethlisberger writhing in what looked like pain. Twisting in M&T Bank Stadium as Steelers and trainers gathered around him. Dobbs put the helmet on, grabbed a ball and started tossing as I made my way toward Ben and the now large crowd around him. I could see his face between feet and legs, a face showing again what looked like pain.
I couldn't tell if it was chest, ribs, legs, arms ... just ... that one of the Steelers' most important players in team history was on the turf after turning the season's potential back to where it should be.
Then ... he stood up. Ben winced and headed for the sideline, stretched his arms and took a massive breath. In that sideline time, Dobbs had the chance to participate in one play under center. Because of a holding call during Roethlisberger's injury, Dobbs had a chance to really participate for the first time as a pro — not just as a kneeling robot to close out a game.
He dropped back, threw, connected, converted, saw Ben coming, slapped hands and took his place on the sideline once again. For that brief moment, Pittsburgh must have felt panic, relief and then even more relief.
It looked like it wasn't just Pittsburgh, though. At the end of the game, even after a loss, Smith let out a massive laugh as he joked with Roethlisberger about the injury scare. That's the image up above: Smith and his laugh with Roethlisberger, who survived the tackle and brief loss of breath to play out the game. Following that, of course, are the rest of the game's best photos.