Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger exited Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders at halftime with a rib injury. He didn't return to the contest until the Steelers trailed 17-14 with five minutes left - going on to lose 24-21.
Roethlisberger returned to the sideline midway through the third quarter and head coach Mike Tomlin admitted the quarterback could have re-entered the contest sooner than he did.
"He got looked at, at halftime, he got treatment. He came back out. We were waiting to see if he was going to be able to come back in, he was. Probably could have come in a series or so sooner, but we were in the rhythm and flow of the game," Tomlin said at his postgame press conference.
Tomlin confirmed Roethlisberger was medically cleared when he returned to the sideline.
When Big Ben left the game, the Steelers led 14-10. In four series at the helm, backup Joshua Dobbs threw for just 24 yards and Pittsburgh's drives ended in a punt, turnover on downs, interception, and another punt.
After the Raiders took a late lead, Roethlisberger immediately led the Steelers on a six-play scoring drive to jump back in front 21-17. But the Raiders responded in kind and the Steelers' last-second game-tying field-goal attempt went awry.
After the game, Roethlisberger said he was waiting for Tomlin to tell him to go back into the game.