The Steelers 24-17 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday did not come without a price.
The team lost four starters to injuries that did not return to the game, piling on to an injured list that already saw six players miss the game with injuries.
Defensive end Stephon Tuitt suffered a pectoral injury in the first half with, while running back James Conner (quad), cornerback Joe Haden (groin) and outside linebacker T.J. Watt (oblique) were injured in the second half.
Cornerback Steve Nelson (groin), fullback Roosevelt Nix (knee), quarterback Mason Rudolph (concussion), running back Jaylen Samuels (knee surgery) and wide receiver James Washington (left AC joint) all did not dress due to injuries.
That left the Steelers significantly undermanned as the Chargers attempted a second-half comeback after Pittsburgh raced out to a 24-0 lead.
“That’s kind of the story of the night, man,” Tomlin said. “Some guys stepped up and stepped up in a big way. We live by the creed, ‘the standard is the standard,’ but those are are just words. The play of the guys make that reality. We got a lot of quality efforts tonight from a lot of people.”
Tyson Alualu filled in for Tuitt at defensive end and finished with three tackles and a pass deflection that led to a Devin Bush interception.
At running back, rookie Benny Snell spelled Conner throughout with Jaylen Samuels on the shelf and then took the entire load down the stretch with Conner on the sideline. Snell rushed 17 times for 45 yards and caught once pass for 14 yards.
In the secondary, Artie Burns made his first start of the season in place of Nelson and when Haden went down in the second half, Cameron Sutton moved from slot corner to the outside. He performed well there breaking up a pass in the end zone and making the game-sealing interception.
With the number and significance of the Steelers’ injuries, it’s safe to say that their bye week is coming at a good time. The team is off Monday and will return to work Tuesday and Wednesday before taking five days off.