The Steelers get a big win on Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field as they defeated the their intrastate rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles, 16-14. That’s the good news! They did what they had to do, finding a way to win and get to 2-2 on the year.
Now for the bad news; those all too familiar injuries to Lamarr Woodley and Troy Polamalu have experienced surfaced again as neither player was able to finish the game. It’s safe to say at this point that their status is already in doubt for the Thursday night game in Tennessee. A short week is bad enough, but the chances of recovery from an injury aren’t exactly odds that are in your favor.
Lamarr Woodley missed 6 games in 2011 when he suffered a hamstring injury against the Patriots on October 30th. He left the game late in the first half on Sunday with the same injury and did not return. Mike Tomlin commented in his post game press conference that given the short week, his status is definitely in doubt. Even without Woodley on the field, Jason Worilds was able to ride the emotional lift of the return of James Harrison to come up with a sack of his own and 3 tackles. The defense finished the day with 3 sacks, and 4 forced fumbles.
This Steelers team just cannot catch a break when it comes to getting a fully healthy starting 22 on the field these days.
Before leaving the game, Woodley was spending a significant amount of time dropping back in coverage, as has been the norm playing the strong side like he does so often. Usually October is the time when #56 comes to life, but it’s not starting out so well in 2012 for him in that respect.
Troy Polamalu, after missing weeks 2 and 3 with a right calf injury, couldn’t finish the first half either. Polamalu came up lame after a seemingly innocent shove out of bounds stop, but had to hobble to the sidelines and was taken to the locker room within minutes. Tomlin also categorized his status as being in doubt given the short week and travel time to Tennessee.
Ryan Mundy filled in for Troy, as he’s done virtually all year long and promptly got himself flagged for a personal foul, helmet to helmet hit. Once again, looking at the replay, Mundy lead with his shoulder but his helmet did hit the Eagles Jeremy Maclin and the flag came in quicker than a James Harrison sack. We can’t sit here and second guess if that play would have gone down the same way if Troy were in the game, but hey who’s to say…
The Steelers defense overall had a good day in terms of splash plays, but it was a costly victory. If Polamalu missed most of the last 3 games with that calf injury, including the bye week, and now reinjures it there’s no telling how long he might be out. Even if he does somehow make a miracle comeback, this looks like it’s going to be one of those nagging injuries he’ll be dealing with yet again.
As for Woodley, we better be prepared, just to be safe, to be seeing a lot more of Jason Worilds and/or Chris Carter. If today was any indication, perhaps the results will be different than last year.