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Ben Roethlisberger returns: For once, the Steelers benefit from an injury

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It was a strange sight to see Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger play the role of backup at the start of Sunday's game against the Browns. But it sure was sweet on the eyes to see No. 7 come in for an injured Landry Jones and throw for 379 yards in a 30-9 victory.

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

It was rather strange that Ben Roethlisberger suited up as the backup quarterback on Sunday, as the Steelers took on the Browns at Heinz Field in a Week 10 match-up.

It was even stranger when Landry Jones had to be assisted off the field and carted into the locker room after spraining his left foot on an incomplete pass to Heath Miller early in the first quarter and was replaced by Roethlisberger, who, despite a special shoe on his sprained left foot sustained one week earlier against the Raiders, seemed perfectly fine.

Mike Vick, the man who was signed on August 25 to replace Bruce Gradkowski and caused thousands of Steelers fans to question their loyalty to the organization (or so it seemed, judging by the emails I received) was standing on the sidelines in street clothes, after suffering a hamstring injury in the victory over the Cardinals almost a month ago. Was he still feeling the effects of that hamstring injury or was head coach Mike Tomlin still feeling the effects of the six passing yards Vick had against Arizona before leaving the game early in the third quarter?

It was certainly a strange set of circumstances at Heinz Field, but you know what? For a change, an injury actually benefited and strengthened the Steelers in 2015, as Roethlisberger entered the game with 8:06 left in the first quarter and proceeded to play like the best backup quarterback there ever was, as he passed for 379 yards, three touchdowns and an interception an a 30-9 victory over the Browns that improved Pittsburgh's record to 6-4 heading into the bye week.

You have to feel for Jones, who, if he's the competitor a person in his position should be, had to be very excited to make his second NFL start after contributing to an absolute vital victory over the Raiders last week, when he came on late in the fourth quarter, following Roethlisberger's scary injury, and orchestrated the game-winning field goal drive by doing the smart thing and getting the football into  the hands of Antonio Brown on third and two and letting the Pro Bowl receiver do most of the work on a 57 yard catch and run down to the Oakland 15-yard line with 45 seconds left in regulation.

No offense to Jones or Vick or any other quarterback on the roster who may have been dealing with a lower-extremity injury, but it sure was nice to see Roethlisberger out there doing his thing in a big way one week after it was feared that he would not be able to do anything but play pseudo-offensive coordinator again like he did for a month while dealing with a sprained MCL in October.

The Steelers needed Sunday's victory for obvious reasons, as it currently has them as the fifth seed in what figures to be a tightly-contested wild card race all the way until Week 17. But, also for psychological reasons, Pittsburgh needed to win in the dominating fashion it did on Sunday and for Roethlisberger to look about as good and sharp as he has all season.

Heading into the bye week, isn't it going to be nice to not have to wonder about Roethlisberger's foot, whether or not he'll be good to go against the Seahawks on November 29 and whether or not he'll have the same rust issues he experienced in the three-interception performance against the Bengals on November 1?

As CBS reported during the game, Roethlisberger's statistical performance was the greatest relief appearance by a quarterback in an NFL game since 1950. Reading such things was far more soothing to the eyes than reading about MCL sprains, MCL tears, ACL tears and mid-foot injuries.

Again, it was a weird sight to see Roethlisberger standing on the sidelines at the start of Sunday's game, wearing a baseball cap and looking like he normally does in the second half of most recent preseason games, while watching Jones do his thing with the other backups.

If you're the Browns, are you offended that Roethlisberger probably could have started, say, a playoff game or a game against the Patriots but was most-likely going so sit-out as a precaution against a 2-7 team?

Was Jones, who was officially listed as questionable after coming back out onto the sidelines with his left ankle heavily-taped, capable of going back in against Cleveland and was he chomping at the bit to see his first-team practice reps put to good use?

Will Jones be the second-string quarterback for the remainder of the season and will Vick spend the rest of 2015 as the emergency quarterback or will that role go to Heath Miller, like it reportedly did against the Browns?

Those last set of questions sure are a lot better to wonder about than whether or not Le'Veon Bell's MCL is sprained or torn, Ben Roethlisberger's foot is sprained or broken, or if the Steelers can handle anymore key injuries

It's nice to have backup Big Ben back in action.