Ben Roethlisberger hurts his left ankle. (Christopher Horner / AP)

(Gene J. Puskar / AP)

“I thought my leg was broken, honestly,” Roethlisberger said. “It's one of the most painful things I ever felt.”

At the time of his Willis Reedesque return, the Steelers were up only 7-3.

Just what Ben Roethlisberger needed after the game: steps. (Gene J. Puskar / AP)

“The heart of a champion,” linebacker James Farrior said. “The man has a lot of guts, a lot of will. He’s the leader of our team and that's what they do, they do stuff like that.”

Roethlisberger left Heinz Field after the game with his leg in a boot. Luckily for him, the Steelers and backup Charlie Batch, he has 11 days in which to heal. The Steelers (10-3) don’t play again until Dec. 19, at San Francisco.

“I really couldn’t drop back to pass and really couldn’t step into my throws,” Roethlisberger said. “[The line] did such a phenomenal job of kind of keeping me clean. That was my intention of coming back.  I wanted to be there for the guys and let them know I’m going to fight for them.”