Steelers vs. Bengals – Recreation Recap – September 11, 2022

September 12, 2022

CINCINNATI — — The Pittsburgh Steelers protection started the season Sunday wanting like a vulturous pressure, and reigning Defensive Participant of the Yr T.J. Watt was the chief disruptor.

Then Watt walked off injured within the fourth quarter, his left arm hanging limply at this aspect, casting severe doubt on when Pittsburgh may look so fearsome once more.

Watt suffered a pectoral damage within the fourth quarter of a 23-20 additional time win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

The Steelers did not present many particulars after the sport. Coach Mike Tomlin mentioned solely that “T.J. has been evaluated with an upper-body damage.”

The 27-year-old Watt received harm within the waning minutes of regulation. He bull-rushed his well past Cincinnati proper sort out La’el Collins — ripping Collins’ helmet off within the course of, a penalty that gave the Bengals a primary down — after which jumped on high of Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow. Burrow ducked underneath Watt and managed to get the ball away, and Watt’s left arm went immobile as Burrow eluded his grasp.

Watt was greeted by Dr. James Bradley, the workforce doctor, as he made his method off the sphere. He went straight to the locker room and didn’t return. Pittsburgh later ended a three-game shedding streak to the Bengals on the ultimate play of additional time.

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The three-time All-Professional didn’t tackle reporters postgame, although he was within the locker room. He’s anticipated to bear additional testing and analysis on Monday.

“I am not going to take a position what is going on and the way unhealthy the damage is,” defensive sort out Cam Heyward mentioned. “However you already know having T.J. on the market undoubtedly advantages us. He is a frontrunner. He is a defensive participant right here. Nevertheless lengthy it takes, different guys are going to step up.”

One of many NFL’s elite edge rushers, Watt was at his disruptive finest in Cincinnati, sacking Burrow as soon as and selecting off a move within the first quarter that arrange Mitch Trubisky’s 2-yard TD move to Najee Harris to provide Pittsburgh a 17-3 lead.

Shedding Watt could be an enormous blow to the Steelers, who should depend on their protection whereas making an attempt to get their offense on monitor. Watt tied the NFL single-season sacks file with 22 1/2 final season regardless of lacking two video games.

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If Watt tore his pectoral muscle, he seemingly would miss prolonged time and probably the season. His older brother J.J. Watt tore a pec in the course of the 2019 season whereas taking part in for Texas and missed two months. Heyward, his longtime teammate, missed the second half of the 2016 season after tearing a pec, and former Steeler defensive finish Stephon Tuitt missed the ultimate 10 video games of the 2019 season after tearing a pec in a win over the Chargers.

The Steelers are skinny behind Watt at outdoors linebacker. Alex Highsmith — who additionally left the sport on Sunday with an damage — is the one different outdoors linebacker on the roster who has spent prolonged time in Pittsburgh.

The Steelers acquired backup Malik Reed in a commerce with Denver final month and claimed Jamir Jones off waivers on Sept. 1 after he was launched by Jacksonville a day earlier. Jones did spend a couple of months with Pittsburgh in 2021 earlier than being launched final September.

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Jones and Reed had been credited with three mixed tackles towards the Bengals.

Watt has been sturdy throughout his five-year profession, lacking simply three video games attributable to damage. With him, the Steelers have a protection with elite gamers in any respect three ranges, in Watt, Heyward and security Minkah Fitzpatrick. With out him, Pittsburgh’s offense underneath first-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky may must speed up the educational curve.

That is perhaps troublesome with out Harris, who left within the fourth quarter after injuring his left foot. The foot was closely wrapped postgame. Backup Jaylen Warren, who earned the job after a stellar coaching camp, ran for 7 yards on three carries in his NFL debut.

The Steelers host New England (0-1) subsequent Sunday.

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