News broke Tuesday how Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck will be missing from the Colts' lineup for 2-6 weeks with a laceration in one of his kidneys and a partial tear of an abdominal muscle. Indanapolis will now be forced to turn their attention to Matt Hasselback to carry the team until Luck is able to return.
The Pittsburgh Steelers know all too well what it is like to have to play without a franchise quarterback, as they have lost Ben Roethlisberger to a knee sprain earlier this year, and most recently, to a mid-foot sprain which has the quarterback's availability for the Week 10 game against the Cleveland Browns severely in jeopardy.
There is a much deeper link between these two situations, other than both quarterbacks leaving the team in the hands of a backup.
If Luck does miss more than 4 weeks with his injuries, it will greatly impact the Week 13 game against the Steelers at Heinz Field. In 2014, when the Colts made the trip to Pittsburgh, most people simply remember Roethlisberger throwing 6 touchdown passes in a victory over the Colts. What most forget is Luck throwing for 400 yards and three touchdowns in the same game, and nearly bringing the Colts back from a huge deficit.
Without Luck in the game, the Steelers would be heavy favorites to win, even more so than already expected considering the two paths the teams have taken after nine games in the 2015 regular season.
This is where the connection gets even deeper. With the Steelers seemingly stuck vying for a Wild Card spot in the playoffs, the Colts are now facing dire straits in the weakest division in the AFC. The Colts (4-5) are a game ahead of the second place Houston Texans (3-5) and two games above the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans (2-6). If the Colts aren't able to keep their head above water, or another team in the division gets hot, the Colts will find themselves in the same boat as the Steelers...hoping for a Wild Card berth in the postseason.
The Steelers could certainly put an end to their hopes of such a fate in Week 13, and without Luck under center, and Roethlisberger likely back in the lineup well before that game, the Steelers could be gearing up for a stretch run to the postseason.
Injuries happen to every team, but how you respond to the injuries says a great deal about the backbone of a team. The Steelers went 2-2 without Roethlisberger earlier this season, and have survived without Ryan Shazier, Maurkice Pouncey and Le'Veon Bell missing some time, if not all of the time, throughout the 2015 regular season. Nobody wishes ill will on anyone or any team, but without Andrew Luck under center the Week 13 game at Heinz Field just got a lot easier on paper.