Mason Rudloph

Steelers backup QB Mason Rudolph will get the start Sunday vs. the Lions.

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Ben Roethlisberger's absence from Sunday's game against Detroit could be a tonic for what ails the winless Lions.

The Steelers announced Saturday that Roethlisberger had been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list and would miss the game. Mason Rudolph is expected to start at quarterback.

The Steelers (5-3) have won four straight to recover from a 1-3 start and find themselves in the mix in the unpredictable AFC North. That doesn't mean their longtime quarterback, who spoke earlier in the week thinks his team is any good. Or at least good enough to meet the standard he has played a pivotal part in helping set during his 18 years on the job.

“We’ve got a winning record, but if you ask most of the guys, I think, in this building would tell you we’ve got a long way to go,” Roethlisberger said.

The lessons have been piling for Detroit (0-8). Close gamesBlowouts. The Lions have found a variety of ways to lose during the first two months of rookie head coach Dan Campbell's tenure. Following a week off, the Lions have to travel to a place where the franchise hasn't won since 1955.

While the game looked like a breather — comparatively speaking — to the minefield that awaits the Steelers over the second half of the season, they're well aware they haven't played well enough to overlook anyone. And now they are without their starting quarterback.

“We do understand that they’re an 0-8 football team that’s faced a lot of adversity, but this is the National Football League,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said. “There are no FCS games, there are no Group of Five games, there are no homecomings. Each and every week, you’re up against it.”

NFL results/schedule

Thursday

Miami 22, Baltimore 10

Sunday's Games

Atlanta at Dallas, 1 p.m.

Buffalo at N.Y. Jets, 1 p.m.

Cleveland at New England, 1 p.m.

Detroit at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.

Jacksonville at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.

New Orleans at Tennessee, 1 p.m.

Tampa Bay at Washington, 1 p.m.

Carolina at Arizona, 4:05 p.m.

Minnesota at L.A. Chargers, 4:05 p.m.

Philadelphia at Denver, 4:25 p.m.

Seattle at Green Bay, 4:25 p.m.

Kansas City at Las Vegas, 8:20 p.m.

Open: Cincinnati, Houston, Chicago, N.Y. Giants

Monday's Games

L.A. Rams at San Francisco, 8:15 p.m.

Recommended for you