The Pittsburgh Steelers have experienced a slew of injuries this year. Cornerback Senquez Golson, the Steelers second-round draft pick and star center Maurkice Pouncey were lost before the season even began along with kicker Jeff Reed. Running back Le'Veon Bell was lost early in the season while running back DeAngelo Williams suffered a foot injury at the end of the season. Offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum was lost to a knee injury in October. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger missed several games after his knee injury in his Week 3 game against the Rams.
Now, the Steelers are facing even more injuries going into the divisional playoff game against the Denver Broncos. Wide receiver Antonio Brown has been ruled out, and Roethlisberger is recovering from a shoulder injury. Will these injuries end the Steelers season? Tre Atkinson argues that the injures are not a big deal, while BTSC's Dani Bostick defends another position.
Tre Atkinson- The Steelers are awesome. Injuries don't matter.
After the 2015 NFL Draft concluded, the city of Pittsburgh was full of hope and excitement. The offensive unit was expected to be the best in football, younger stars were finally stepping up, and the addition of Bud Dupree and Senquez Golson promised at least some help for the struggling defense.
Fast forward to today, and its clear that the season was an emotionally trying time. Center Maurkice Pouncey and rookie cornerback Senquez Golson were lost before the season could begin. As the season went on, Cortez Allen, Kelvin Beachum, and Roosevelt Nix all found themselves on injured IR.
Even minor injuries played a big role this year as Ryan Shazier, Antwon Blake and Ben Roethlisberger were either forced to miss games or play through a lot of pain. And just when it looked like the team was back to their best with former depth players now starting, Le’Veon Bell’s knee was shredded which put him on the shelf for the rest of the year. No matter who got injured, or what the team faced, the Steelers refused to lie down and call it quits. Players fought back, some stepped up in place of fallen teammates, and coach Mike Tomlin pushed his squad to give everything they’ve got.
Now, just days ahead of a Divisional matchup with the Denver Broncos, the Steel City finds itself in the thick of things all over again. Deangelo Williams is still in a walking boot and is almost certain to miss the clash, Roethlisberger still hasn’t thrown a ball since Sunday with a right AC sprain, and Antonio Brown is fighting to clear the concussion protocol after a gruesome hit against the Bengals.
Looking to Sunday, everything is still very much up in the air. But that has been the season so far. The Steelers have proven that they can get production from almost anywhere in the team. Whether it is a 4th string running back, 3rd string quarterback, or timely splash plays from the defense, injuries have not stopped Pittsburgh. Going into Sunday’s game in Denver, the game very well may come down to the defense, or Landry Jones’ arm, or perhaps Martavis Bryant’s hands. There is worry and fear right now, and understandably so, but the Steelers have been here all season long. Winning on Sunday definitely won’t be easy, and probably not pretty either, but it’s not impossible, not with this team. It’s next man up as usual, and the Steelers can absolutely overcome these glaring issues, because that’s exactly what they have been doing since the season began.
Dani Bostick- The Steelers are awesome, but the injuries are a huge liability.
The Steelers can beat the Denver Broncos even injured players, but the absence of Williams and Brown, coupled with a compromised Roethlisberger, will make for a difficult battle. While the Steelers have performed well despite injuries this season, they face an uphill battle.
The offense is the strength of the Steelers squad, yet Roethlisberger has underperformed in several games, falling prey to mistakes and lapses in judgment. A key to victory will be Roethlisberger's consistency. Unfortunately, with Brown, his favorite target, sidelined with a concussion, he will need to rely on tight end Heath Miller, who is not a deep threat ; Markus Wheaton, who is talented, but not nearly as productive as Brown; and, Martavis Bryant, who has dropped the most passes of any other Steelers receiver, but who is also capable of incredibly clutch efforts:
There's a reason Martavis Bryant's nickname is "Alien." This somersault TD catch is pure insanity. #PITvsCIN https://t.co/nswMny6nxq— NFL (@NFL) January 10, 2016
The offense will also be more run-game dependent. While Fitzgerald Toussaint and Jordan Todman filled in admirably for Williams, they lack the experience and track record of excellence that Williams has brought to the field. That leaves an injured Roethlisberger and two relatively inexperienced running backs. Exacerbating the already dire situation, Roethlisberger cannot rely on his favorite target.
Last week was a painful reminder that the Steelers are one violent sack away from having Landry Jones quarterback the squad. Though he had a few efficient series this season when Roethlisberger was sidelined with various injuries, overall he has proven to be terrifyingly unreliable.
The playoff game against the Broncos could send the Steelers to a conference championship game against the Patriots. Even if they come out on top, the game will more stressful than other games and have far less room for error and further injury than perhaps any other game this season.