The Steelers head into tonight's game against the Los Angeles Chargers without several starters on defense, inactive because of injuries.
The team will be without linebacker T.J. Watt and cornerback Joe Haden, both inactive after suffering injuries last week against the Lions. In addition, defensive lineman Isaiahh Loudermilk is also inactive tonight, also injury related.
On the flip side, the team got good news on Saturday when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was activated from the Reserve/COVID List and is expected to start.
Roethlisberger was placed on the list last week after, according to Coach Mike Tomlin, he was symptomatic, self-reported the symptoms, and tested positive. NFL rules allowed Roethlisberger the opportunity to return after clearing protocols.
With all of the injuries, the Steelers made multiple moves on Saturday. The team elevated safety Karl Joseph from the practice squad to the Active/Inactive roster as a COVID-19 replacement. With Minkah Fitzpatrick still on the Reserve/COVID-19 List, Joseph will provide depth at the safety spot. He was previous elevated for the Steelers Week 5 game against the Denver Broncos, where he saw action on defense and special teams.
Joseph played in 14 games last season for the Cleveland Browns, starting eight, and finished with 66 tackles, four pass defenses and an interception. He also added two fumble recoveries. Joseph is a former first-round pick of the Oakland Raiders in the 2016 NFL Draft, the 14th selection overall. He has played in 49 career games, starting 41, and had 249 tackles, four interceptions, three sacks, 16 pass defenses, three fumble recoveries and a forced fumble.
In addition, the Steelers elevated defensive lineman Daniel Archibong and linebacker Delontae Scott to the Active/Inactive roster for the game.
Archibong was signed to the practice squad at the start of the season. He originally signed with the Chicago Bears as an undrafted rookie free agent following the 2021 NFL Draft. He played at Temple where he had 89 tackles, five sacks, one forced fumble and eight pass defenses. The defensive line has been hit with injuries this season with the latest one missing time rookie Isaiahh Loudermilk, who was ruled out for Sunday with a groin injury.
Scott was signed to the practice squad in early Sept. He was signed by the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted rookie free agent following the 2020 NFL Draft. He played at SMU where he appeared in 40 games and had 97 tackles, 36 of them for a loss, with 18 sacks and five forced fumbles. In his senior season he had 10 of his 18 sacks as well as three forced fumbles. Scott was added for depth with linebacker.
Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon is active for the Steelers with Haden out.
For the Chargers, outside linebacker Joey Bosa is active tonight after being activated from the Reserve/COVID list on Saturday.
The other inactives for the Steelers include quarterback Dwayne Haskins, running back Anthony McFarland Jr. and linebacker Buddy Johnson.
No. 3 QB Dwayne Haskins
No. 23 CB Joe Haden
No. 26 RB Anthony McFarland
No. 45 LB Buddy Johnson
No. 90 LB T.J. Watt
No. 92 DE Isaiahh Loudermilk
No. 2 QB Easton Stick
No. 27 RB Joshua Kelley
No. 29 DB Mark Webb Jr.
No. 32 S Alohi Gilman
No. 40 FB Gabe Nabers
No. 79 T Trey Pipkins III
No. 98 DL Linval Joseph