The Pittsburgh Steelers made it out of the first round of the NFL playoffs without starting running back DeAngelo Williams. They may have to attempt to do the same in round two. Per reports, Williams has not progressed as much as hoped from a foot injury, and could end up missing his second straight post-season contest.
Reports stated that it’s “not looking good” for Williams to be active and that he faces an “uphill battle” to make it on the game day roster. That doesn’t make his return impossible, but Williams was unable to practice last week and would probably need to be able to get in at least a few limited sessions for the Steelers coaching staff to feel good about using him against a very good Broncos defense on the road.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 11, 2016
Fitzgerald Toussaint filled in rather admirably for the injured D-Will last week, totaling 21 touches and 118 total yards. He figures to play the every down role at running back again this week, with backup Jordan Todman also being sprinkled into the game plan. Both coming out and being effective may be a tough sell, however, as Denver has one of the toughest defenses in the entire league.
While the matchup doesn’t look good, Pittsburgh’s running game will get a big break if both Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown can make it on the active roster with little trouble. The Steelers’ passing game coming in at full strength would take pressure off of Toussaint and the ground game, which would still give Pittsburgh a realistic chance at staying balanced and unpredictable.
The statuses of Roethlisberger and Brown are yet to be determined, as is the status of Williams. For now, however, it appears the Steelers will be down at least one key offensive player for the second week in a row.