Cornerback Ike Taylor might have hands of stone, but the Pittsburgh Steelers missed the rest of his body Sunday in their 34-24 loss to the San Diego Chargers.
Taylor, who fractured his right ankle early in the win over the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday, was replaced Sunday afternoon by second-year cornerback Cortez Allen with fellow second-year cornerback Curtis Brown coming in to play outside when the defense employed their nickel. It was easy to see that neither were up to the task as Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers threw their directions quite a bit with success.
While Allen was not victimized for a touchdown like Brown was, he did give up several catches in the game with a few moving the chains.
Brown was even worse and was beat badly on a double move by Chargers wide receiver Danario Alexander for a 39 yard touchdown in the second quarter. Things were so bad for Brown that he was ultimately replaced later in the game by Josh Victorian, who was on the street at this time last week after being released from the practice squad.
Victorian didn\’t fare much better as he too allowed the tall Alexander to go up underneath him for a fourth quarter touchdown from 15 yards out.
Head coach Mike Tomlin was asked during his post game press conference following the loss about the decision to play Victorian and if it was an injury related decision.
“It wasn’t an injury issue,” said Tomlin. “We wanted to give Josh an opportunity. They were attacking Curtis some, particularly on third downs. He wasn’t being successful enough. We gave Josh an opportunity.”
Brown had played well last week against the Ravens after Taylor went down injured and he admitted after the game that he deserved to be pulled, and that he didn\’t prepare well enough this week.
At least he was honest.
The Steelers will be lucky to get Taylor back before the end of the regular season. Tomlin said this past Tuesday that the injury would sideline the Steelers starting cornerback at least two weeks. Those two weeks could easily turn into three or four.
Taylor will undoubtedly miss the game next week against the Dallas Cowboys so that means Allen, Brown, and Keenan Lewis will face yet another talented group receivers in the form of Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Kevin Ogletree, and Dwayne Harris.
With the Steelers barely clinging to Wild Card spot, the youthful cornerbacks need to have a bounce back game or the black and gold could wind up being bounced from playoff contention before Taylor makes it back. Bounced just like the balls that bounce off of the hands of Taylor. You miss those now, don\’t you?
Get well soon, Ike.