Overcome Running Back Injuries
In their Week Eight win against the Miami Dolphins, the Steelers relied heavily on the running game to pull out the win. James Conner, amid a disappointing season, finally looked like himself to the tune of 145 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Unfortunately, Conner’s heavy workload also led to an injury, and he is now unlikely to play against the Colts. With backup Benny Snell out because of a meniscus injury, the Steelers must hope that Jaylen Samuels, who is returning from an injury of his own, can keep the running game afloat.
Samuels has been in this position before. Last year against the New England Patriots, Samuels was forced into a starting role, and he took full advantage. While putting up 142 rushing yards at a 7.5 yards per carry, Samuels looked explosive and talented enough to hold his own as a starter. That bodes well for his chances for his success this week as Indianapolis’ defense has been shaky against the run, ranking 20th in the league when it comes to rushing yards allowed per game. Obviously, this situation is a bit different than last season, what with the new quarterback and all, but the hope is that Samuels can shine again as a starter.
For as rough as Conner’s season has been, he has still been one of the Steelers’ most important contributors. His efforts as a receiver will be missed, and coming off his best rushing performance of the season, it’s disappointing he won’t get a chance to continue the momentum. That said, the Steelers must move on and hope that the running game can be effective without him, or else Indianapolis will take full advantage.