The hearts of every Steeler fans stopped as we saw our #1 draft pick, pro bowl, Steelers rookie of the year, Maurkice Pouncey laying on the turf Sunday evening. He got rolled up on during the first half and did not return. Pouncey could not leave the field without help from the Steelers medical staff, unable to put any weight on his ankle at all. After cutting the tape off his foot he was carted straight to the locker room. Fortunately there was no break, but still the dreaded high ankle sprain is bad enough.
Pouncey was back on the sidelines for the rest of the game, on crutches. You could see in his face the intensity of wanting to get back in, and the despair of knowing he couldn’t. Enter backup lineman, jack of all trades, Doug Legursky. For the rest of the half all was well, the Steeler running game was in pure beast mode. Flozell Adams and Ramone Foster were opening up holes that you could drive a truck through. Even though we knew Pouncey was key for our Super Bowl hopes we were a little bit “ok” with how things were going so far.
Enter the 2nd half; the Jets started crashing the center of the line and coming right at Legursky. The bodies in green & white that weren’t present in the Steeler backfield were suddenly spreading like the plague. Ben was under duress, and Mendenhall was unable to generate the same yardage as he did just 15 minutes earlier. Credit the Jets for exploiting the change in personnel and it worked out for them for the most part. Fortunately the Steeler defense rose to the occasion late in the game causing the Jets to eat up valuable clock time on their Touchdown drives, which cost them late in the game. In the end thankfully Ben was able to find rookie Antonio Brown for the game sealing 3rd down pass completion for 14 yds. (where have we seen that one before?)
Pouncey vowed during the post game press conferences to play no matter what in 2 weeks in Super Bowl XLV. Tackle Max Starks had what looked to be a devastating ankle sprain earlier in the year and was able to come back quickly. We can hope that Pouncey’s injury responds to treatment and heals up just as quickly. The Packers defense, a 34 scheme similar to Pittsburgh, will most certainly try to exploit the interior of the Steeler offensive line if he does not.
BlitzburghRockCity – SteelerAddicts.com