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Print

Steelers lost more than a game

Posted Sep 8, 2013



Recapping the damage from a regular season opener gone horribly wrong, it was one game and two starters that the Steelers lost against Tennessee.

The starters – center Maurkice Pouncey and inside linebacker Larry Foote – are presumably gone for the season.

“That’s going to happen in football regardless,” cornerback Ike Taylor assessed after the Titans outlasted the Steelers, 16-9, on Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field. “We gotta fill in and we gotta move on.

“It’s tough, but we gotta move on. That’s just the nature of the business.”

The Steelers began dealing with injuries on Sunday, even prior to the opening kickoff against Tennessee.

Kicker Shaun Suisham suffered a hamstring injury in the pregame warmup but was able to make it through the day, quite possibly because his only duty was one extra point.

Pouncey (MCL, ACL) and Foote (ruptured biceps) weren’t as fortunate. They’ll undergo surgeries that Coach Mike Tomlin assumed would end their seasons.

Pouncey was lost on the eighth offensive snap of the season. He became an inadvertent victim of friendly fire when guard David DeCastro tried to execute a cut-block on second-and-6 from the Tennessee 21-yard line.

Second-year pro Kelvin Beachum, who had been scheduled to play a lot of tight end against Tennessee, took over at center.

Foote left the game midway through the fourth quarter, following an 8-yard gain by Titans running back Chris Johnson.

Foote was replaced by Kion Wilson, a third-year pro who made the Steelers roster this preseason in large part because of his ability on special teams. Wilson, who saw action on the punt, punt return, kickoff, and kickoff return teams against Tennessee, had played previously in the NFL with San Diego (three games in 2010) and Carolina (five games in 2011).

The Steelers also lost cornerback Cortez Allen (ankle) late in the second quarter and running back LaRod Stephens-Howling (knee) late in the third quarter.

Safety Ryan Clark left the game on a couple of occasions but was able to return both times.

“Terrible,” DeCastro assessed. “It can’t get much worse, but the only way to go is up. We gotta get back as a team and as a unit (the offensive line). We gotta get back together and be on the same page. You gotta come back and be stronger.”

The Steelers’ ability to piece things back together with whatever components are available to them will be tested during a visit to Cincinnati on Sept. 16.

“We just have to treat it like another game,” DeCastro said. “We just gotta do the things we always do, and no one try to do too much. Everyone just do their job, and we’ll be just fine.

“It’s obviously tough losing Maurkice, that doesn’t need to be said. He’s our leader and that stinks, but you can’t make excuses. We gotta have the next guy up step up and we gotta go. We got a whole season to play.”

In losing Foote, the Steelers lost their defensive signal-caller as well as the starter inside alongside Lawrence Timmons.

“Lawrence does a great job of calling (plays) and setting the defense up, as well,” rookie outside linebacker Jarvis Jones said. “At this level, everybody just has to be ready to step up when they get their opportunity and take advantage of it.”

Added veteran defensive end Brett Keisel: “One man’s misery is another man’s opportunity and someone’s gotta step up.”

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