Pittsburgh enters Week 18 needing a win and a Colts loss to reach the playoffs. Seems simple enough, right?
Well, the struggling Steelers passing game might be without a couple of key players in Pittsburgh's pivotal regular-season finale against the rival Baltimore Ravens. Pittsburgh placed receiver Diontae Johnson and center Kendrick Green on the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday, the team announced.
Johnson has had an excellent year, leading the Steelers in receiving on his way to posting his first 1,000-yard and 100-reception season in his three-year NFL career. His eight receiving touchdowns are also a single-season high for Johnson, whose production has been steady through the majority of this campaign.
A narrative that defined a good portion of Johnson's play in 2020 -- he struggled with securing passes, frequently dropping catchable balls -- has again crept up down the stretch in 2021, though it hasn't been as prevalent of an issue as it was a season ago. Johnson caught a touchdown pass in traffic on Monday night, his second in as many games.
He may not get a chance to add to his two-game receiving touchdown streak in Week 18. Upcoming COVID-19 tests will determine his fate for the Sunday game against Baltimore.
The same goes for Green, who sat out of Pittsburgh's win over Cleveland on Monday night, the rookie's first missed game of his NFL career.