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Steelers star LB reportedly enters concussion protocol

The wheels are falling off the wagon for the Pittsburgh Steelers

First, they followed a loss to the then two-win Arizona Cardinals — in which starting quarterback Kenny Pickett hurt his ankle — with a defeat to the then three-win New England Patriots on “Thursday Night Football” to fall out of a playoff spot. 

Then, on Saturday Morning, ESPN’s Brooke Pryor posted on “X” that Pittsburgh’s defensive star T.J. Watt is reportedly in concussion protocol. 

The announcement comes after Watt took a blow to the head early in the game with the Patriots and got examined on the sideline before returning to the game. 

Despite the Steelers hanging around in the playoff conversation, there is little reason at this point for Pittsburgh fans to expect the team to earn its way back into contention. 

Before firing offensive coordinator Matt Canada on Nov. 21 following a 13-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns, they’d been out-gained by every opponent in 2023 despite a record of 6-4. 

While Pittsburgh won its first game post-firing-Canada and accumulated 400 yards for the first time since before his arrival, they still haven’t been able to score consistently. The saving grace of the team was its elite defense, headlined by Watt, the 2021 AP Defensive Player of the Year. 

With the offense continuing to sputter even before having to start Mitch Trubisky at quarterback, Pittsburgh’s defense has even more pressure on it to perform if they’re going to have a chance to win. Instead, they surrendered 21 points to Bailey Zappe and the Patriots, the lowest-scoring offense in the NFL at 13 points per game. 

Even more troubling than the results for Pittsburgh this season might be the mentality of some of their players. 

Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick told Pryor after the loss to the Patriots that he’s not sure everyone on the team has the mentality for success in the NFL.

“In order to see the fruit, you’ve gotta toil for it,” he said. “I think too many people don’t want to toil for it. They just want to walk out here and think that they’re going to make plays and think that they’re going to perform at a high level.”

After its disastrous “Thursday Night Football,” performance, Pittsburgh is just a half-game behind the Houston Texans for a playoff spot.

But Houston, led by rookie sensation C.J. Stroud, is looking more difficult for Pittsburgh to catch up to as the season dwindles. The Steelers’ final stretch does them no favors either, with tough matchups against the Colts, Bengals, Seahawks and Ravens.

Mercifully for football fans everywhere, Week 18 should be the last we see of these Steelers.  




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