The Pittsburgh Steelers now have four players ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field. After being listed as questionable on Friday, the Steelers have downgraded outside linebacker T.J. Watt to be out for the game. This per Steelers spokesman Burt Lauten.
#Steelers LB T.J. Watt (groin) has been downgraded to OUT for Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals.— Burt Lauten (@SteelersPRBurt) September 25, 2021
With the Steelers already ruling out outside linebacker Alex Highsmith, there are only two healthy edge rushers on the Steelers roster at this time in Melvin Ingram IIII and Jamir Jones. for this reason, the Steelers will definitely have to make at least one roster moved today, most likely in the form of a practice squad elevation.
Although Watt practiced on a limited basis all week, it was going to come down to improved health in order for him to play this Sunday. The fact he’s been ruled out on Saturday is somewhat concerning when looking beyond the upcoming game, but also might be a necessary precaution. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, this could even be a situation of the Steelers looking out for their big investment in the long term of the 2021 season.
The loss of T.J. Watt in Week 2 had an obvious effect in the game. Despite the Steelers getting more quarterback hits after Watt exited, it was partially due to quarterback Derek Carr holding onto the ball a little longer without the fear of the two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year finalists breathing down his throat. After the Raiders threw for 119 yards in the first half, more than half of which came after Watt exited the game, they went on to throw for 263 yards in the second half.
Once again, the Steelers defense will need to dig deep and rely on their “next man up” strategy. Coming up short in Week 2, hopefully the defense can find redemption in front of the Heinz Field crowd this Sunday. Even though the Steelers missed players like Devin Bush and Joe Haden before kickoff in Week 2, having both starters at the outside linebacker position on the sidelines will be quite the obstacle to overcome.
Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain as the Pittsburgh Steelers prepare to take on the Cincinnati Bengals this Sunday at 1 PM at Heinz Field.
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