Tomlin expects Roethlisberger to practice this week, but he named Charlie Batch the starter for the game Sunday at Baltimore.
The Ravens are 9-2, three games ahead of the 6-5 Steelers, but even if the Steelers lose to the Ravens, the Steelers at 6-6 would remain in position to claim the second wildcard berth by winning out.
To do that, the Steelers would need Roethlisberger, who threw Monday and will “take steps toward playing this week. We’ll leave the door open for him. He’s got a chance,” said Tomlin, who added that the game plan will be made with Batch in mind.
Tomlin was asked what Roethlisberger had to do specifically to play in Baltimore.
“He’s not going to be allowed to play unless he shows us he’s capable,” Tomlin said.
Batch, or possibly Roethlisberger, will at least have the team’s best wide receiver, Antonio Brown, back after a 3½-game absence. Brown will practice Wednesday and “is scheduled to play,” Tomlin said.
Troy Polamalu is also scheduled to practice Wednesday, “with a possibility of playing,” Tomlin said. “We’re encouraged by his status as well.”
Left guard Willie Colon, who missed the game in Cleveland when his knee swelled late last week, is expected to return, but right tackle Mike Adams has been ruled out with a sprained ankle.
Since the other right tackle, Marcus Gilbert, was placed on injured reserve on Monday, Tomlin will turn to rookie Kelvin Beachum to start the week at right tackle with an eye toward playing in Baltimore.
Beachum, who stepped into the Cleveland game and was flagged for a questionable holding penalty, finished the game without giving up a sack or committing another penalty. He’ll most likely alternate with right guard Ramon Foster at tackle this week as Tomlin works first-round pick David DeCastro into shape at right guard.
On the final injury of note, outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley is doubtful with an ankle sprain and will be replaced by team sacks leader Jason Worilds, who had 2 sacks in place of Woodley on Sunday and now has 5 sacks for the season.
At running back, Tomlin has settled on Jonathan Dwyer as his starter. Tomlin said the four lost fumbles by four different running backs in Cleveland was “unacceptable. We talked all week about being ‘backup quarterback friendly.’ Turning the ball over is not that. We made that very clear prior to kickoff. That’s why we did what it is we did last week (pulling runners after they fumbled). It has no bearing on how we might conduct ourselves this week.”
That means Dwyer, who leads the team with 429 yards rushing and a 4.4 yards-per-carry average, will receive the large majority of carries.
“He’s been the most consistently productive guy,” Tomlin said. “I think we have a large enough body of work to be able to identify that at this point. The other guys will supplement him in some form or fashion.”