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The Rush: Big Ben says goodbye to Heinz Field, keeps Steelers’ playoff hopes alive

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The Steelers’ playoff hopes are still alive after a win over the Browns in Ben Roethlisberger’s likely swan song at Heinz Field, a new playoff strategy emerges as the NFL Covid carousel spins round and Oklahoma QB Caleb Williams enters the transfer portal, but his destination is unknown… and a return to OU isn’t off the table.

Video Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING]

[CROWD NOISE]

- Najee Harris to the endzone. Touchdown Steelers. And Ben, it's all yours.

[SWISHING]

[MUSIC PLAYING]

JARED QUAY: Ben Roethlisberger likely played his last game in Pittsburgh on Monday. It will be remembered as a win over the Cleveland Browns. He did it.

Four, blue 80.

- Was it at the 50 yard line?

- First and goal. Ben-- quick throw. Diontae Johnson hung on to that one. Touchdown Steelers.

[CROWD NOISE]

[MUSIC PLAYING]

JARED QUAY: And Jadeveon Clowney throwing away Chase Claypool's cleat.

- [LAUGHS] That's not-- might not be a flag.

- [LAUGHS] That's a yellow shoe.

- From up here, it looks like a yellow flag.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

JARED QUAY: Big Ben can't think of retirement yet, because the Steelers still have a shot at the playoffs. They need a bunch of shit to go their way in week 18, but there's still a shot.

- But you're saying there's a chance.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

JARED QUAY: The NFL has become a giant revolving door of people entering and exiting the COVID list. 36 players went on the COVID list yesterday, while 40 players went off of it. So progress, right? Sure, why not? But as some people have pointed out, there's a level of strategy when it comes to COVID testing that could affect the playoffs.

- I'm listening.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

JARED QUAY: Take Philly, for example. A dozen Eagles players were on the list yesterday, But all have a chance to play against the Cowboys on Saturday. And once you test positive, you aren't tested again.

- Go on.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

JARED QUAY: So here's the strategy-- vaccinated players are only tested if they're symptomatic, randomly selected, or volunteer for testing.

- I volunteer.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

JARED QUAY: So guys on playoff teams should volunteer to get tested on Monday, so that they can clear protocols in time for this weekend's games.

- Strategery.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

JARED QUAY: This could be huge for playoff rosters. You thought the only way to win games was offense, defense, and special teams. Mm-mm. COVID is the fourth phase of the game. You got to beat COVID and then beat your opponent-- it's like a 12th man.

[SWOOSH]

You usually only see college football players transfer schools because they can't find playing time.

- Put me in, coach.

JARED QUAY: Well, Caleb Williams is out to prove he's the exception. The five-star recruit started for Oklahoma as a true freshman, after replacing Spencer Rattler, who transferred to South Carolina. Williams cited recent changes at Oklahoma--

[MUSIC - DAVID BOWIE, "CHANGES"]

- (SINGING) Ch-ch-changes.

JARED QUAY: --like head coach Lincoln Riley bolting for USC-- as the reason he's exploring his options. Williams and his father said they do not have a destination in mind, and they haven't ruled out returning to Oklahoma, although that would be pretty awkward. Hey, man, I thought you was transferring? Yeah, yeah, but that was just, you know, me having some fun. I'm back.

- I'm thinking I'm back.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

JARED QUAY: But, how many people quit a job before they have a new gig lined up?

- What an idiot!

[MUSIC PLAYING]

JARED QUAY: For example, I ain't ever leaving The Rush. But if I did, you best believe I'd have my next gig lined up. You know, I'd probably be with the BBC, because I got a really good British accent. People are always like, Jared, do your British accent. I'm like, aw, come on, man. All right, you really want to hear it? All right, cool, cool. (AUSTRALIAN ACCENT) Good day, mate.

[SWISH]