Updated: Jan 2, 2021
(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
On Tuesday, Mike Tomlin announced that Ben Roethlisberger won't play against the Browns in Cleveland on Sunday and Mason Rudolph would get the start at quarterback. Tomlin also mentioned that they'll potentially rest other key starters. According to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, outside linebacker T.J. Watt, center Maurkice Pouncey and defensive tackle Cam Heyward will not play against the Browns on Sunday.
Dulac also mentioned that cornerback Joe Haden and right guard David DeCastro will start against Cleveland but their snaps will be limited.
It's a no-brainer for Tomlin to rest veterans and an All-Pro like Watt in a game that really doesn't matter. The Browns are also dealing with a COVID-19 situation right now that they're hoping to get under control before Sunday's game. If Tomlin could, he should get as many starters as he can out on Sunday. Call up practice squad players if you have to. All that matters right now is getting ready for the playoffs.
With Watt reportedly out, Rams' defensive tackle Aaron Donald could surpass him as the league's sack leader on Sunday. Watt has 15 sacks and Donald goes into Sunday's game against the Cardinals with 13.5.
Watt should still be the front-runner for Defensive Player of the Year regardless of what Donald does against Arizona as he leads the league in tackles for a loss (23) and quarterback hits (41) as well.
Watt will be a sack shy of tying James Harrison's franchise single-season sack record of 16, which he posted in 2008.