The Pittsburgh Steelers typically explosive passing attack has gotten off to a disappointing start in 2021 and appears to be facing a series of setbacks ahead of Week 3.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has reportedly suffered a minor pectoral injury and the team may be without its top receiver this weekend against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Diontae Johnson tweaked his knee on the final play of Pittsburgh's loss to the Raiders on Sunday, casting some doubt on his status for the Steelers Week 3 divisional game. The injury isn't expected to keep him out long term, but an update from head coach Mike Tomlin implied that the wide receiver isn't 100 percent healthy.
Tomlin did confirm that Johnson looks better than he did immediately after the injury occurred on Sunday. However, he didn't say whether or not the 25-year-old would be available to play this weekend.
“He’s looking better, but not to be confused with great,” Tomlin said,
Per Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin:
QB Ben Roethlisberger is dealing with a left pectoral injury.
On WR Diontae Johnson's knee injury:
"He's looking better, but not to be confused with great. We'll follow him and his health as we get through the week."
— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) September 21, 2021
">via Doug Kyed of PFF. “We’ll follow him and his health as we get through the week.”
Johnson led the Steelers in every major receiving category through the first two games this season, picking up right where he left off in 2020. He made nine catches for 105 yards against the Raiders, building upon a solid performance (five receptions, 35 yards and a touchdown) in Pittsburgh’s Week 1 victory over the Buffalo Bills.
The Steelers selected Johnson in the third-round of the 2019 NFL Draft out of Toledo and he's quickly risen to meet expectations and then some. He made an All-Pro team as a returner in his rookie year and has been a focal point of of Pittsburgh's passing attack for the last two seasons.
Johnson's absence would be greatly felt this weekend in the Steelers match-up with the Bengals. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Chase Claypool and James Washington would be left to pick up the pieces, if he can't suit up on his injured knee.
Johnson's status will be one to monitor before Pittsburgh takes on Cincinnati on Sunday afternoon.