The Pittsburgh Steelers are in the midst of a two-game losing-streak and have lost four of their past five games to go from holding a commanding lead in the AFC wild card picture to now being a game out of the final WC spot. A large reason for that has been the inordinate amount of injuries they’ve had in the defensive backfield, including S Troy Polamalu, CB Ike Taylor, and CB Keenan Lewis missing time. Lewis and Polamalu will play this week, but Head Coach Mike Tomlin says Taylor will miss his third straight game while recovering from a fractured ankle. The Steelers also placed backup CB DeMarcus Van Dyke on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.
Taylor’s loss will be the most significant, as he’s been a shutdown corner for the Steelers and his absence has allowed Phillip Rivers and Tony Romo to torch their defense in back-to-back weeks. They still have the league’s #1 passing defense, but haven’t had an interception in the past two games while allowing Rivers and Romo to torch them for over a combined 600 yards through air.
Taylor has deflected 10 passes this year and allowed an opposing QB completion % of just 44.1. Bengals fans remember him most for his performance against A.J. Green in their first matchup in which he helped hold the All-Pro receiver to just one reception for eight yards. His absence will hopefully allow Green to flourish this week and Andy Dalton to regain his confidence while picking apart a banged-up Steelers secondary.
In order to shore up their defensive backfield, the Steelers signed former Penn State CB Justin King. King was a fourth-round draft choice of the St. Louis Rams, and was released by the Indianapolis Colts in October.