Big Lead Sports Bar


Steelers Win, May Lose Byron Leftwich to Possible Torn MCL

The Steelers won on the scoreboard on Thursday night against Carolina, but they could possibly have a much bigger loss in the grand scheme of things.

QB Byron Leftwich, the Steelers' presumed opening-day starter, was taken to a hospital on Thursday night after an injury to his left knee in the second quarter of their game against Carolina at Heinz Field.

With 10:25 left in the first half, Leftwich completed an 18-yard pass to rookie WR Emmanuel Sanders before being knocked off his feet as RB Mewelde Moore attempted to block Carolina S Marcus Hudson. Leftwich, 2-of-4 for 43 yards on the night to that point, was taken to a nearby hospital and will undergo an MRI. 

His agency, Pro Player Solutions, tweeted the following message: "Our thoughts and concerns are with PPS client Byron Leftwich who tore his MCL this evening. Bad luck for a classy guy."

If Leftwich's injury news is true, the team will have a genuine QB dilemma on their hands, as Mike Tomlin will be forced to decide between young Dennis Dixon and late-surging veteran Charlie Batch, who now looks like he might not be going anywhere after all. Funny how these situations seem to sort themselves out sometimes. 

But back to the game action, where Ben Roethlisberger started for Pittsburgh, going 4-of-6 for 39 yards before giving way to Leftwich. After Leftwich went down, Dennis Dixon entered the game and threw a 23-yard touchdown to Emmanuel Sanders, who had a very solid 66-yard, three-catch effort on Thursday. Charlie Batch closed things out for the Black and Gold QBs, efficient but unspectacular while going 3-for-4 for 10 yards.

In addition to Leftwich, the team may be dealing with another injury on offense, as tackle Jonathan Scott rolled his ankle. I have a bad feeling the line will have that work-in-progress/construction zone feel for much of the year. Call it a hunch.

Rookie RB Jon Dwyer got an extended look in the backfield and took full advantage of the situation, with 86 yards on 20 carries, including as long of 36. Will his late-preseason push be enough to earn the late-round pick a roster spot? That remains to be seen, but I think he's still destined for the practice squad.

On the D side, the Steelers dished out some serious hits on Thursday night, especially Crezdon Butler and Ryan Mundy in the secondary. Lawrence Timmons and Stevenson Sylvester both had nice games at the linebacker position for the Steelers, who allowed just 123 yards and three points on the evening.

Other than that, the game was pretty bland, as is usually the case when only one touchdown is scored. Skippy Reed kicked four field goals, and ageless Panther kicker John Kasay hit a 51-yarder for the balance of the scoring in a 19-3 Steeler win

The big story going into Friday, however, is the state of the Steelers' quarterback position, as the team awaits final word on Leftwich and Roethlisberger, who will meet with Roger Goodell (and Art Rooney II) in New York. Needless to say, it should be a pretty restless Thursday night over at Steeler HQ based on the current state of affairs.

Mondesi's House: The Director's Cut (more links, commentary, etc):


Unknown said...

I didn't see the game. I haven't been following the team all that closely, but why was Leftwich still in the game in the second quarter? Isn't the whole point of the last exhibition game to not get injured? Give the first team one or two reps, and then get them off the field. Again, I didn't see the game. Perhaps there was a good reason.

Anonymous said...

John, the starters played the entire first quarter. Leftwich hardly spent any time in there before his injury.

Rege said...

This is probably what Tomlin wanted anyway. His boy Dixon gets to be the man now.

HomeRunFromBehindTheMeatballs said...

There is NO 'QB dilemma'. The steelers keeping Dixon out of the game to keep him healthy and playing Chuckie Batch the rest of the way tells you all you need to know{and Batch only threw 4 passes in over a half of work}. It's not like Dixon couldn't have benefitted from the reps, it just wasn't worth the risk anymore... the risk of having to play Batch in a REAL game!

It'll be interesting to see who makes the 53-man out of the RBs, that's for sure!!!

If Crezdon Bulter didn't make the team, i don't know what else he could've done. He really laid the wood to a couple guys this preseason, CAUGHT a ball (a rarity in our secondary last season), seemed to know what he's doing. He's looked a lot better than either Lewis or Burnett looked last preseason. S. Sylvester is another guy who's exceeeded my expectations.

AJ said...

Butler looked good, but I didn't like how he seemed to quit early on a couple plays.

I don't get the notion that Dixon is Tomlin's guy. I think people are having flashbacks to Kordell being Cowher's guy... but I don't see the same dangerous parallel here.

I think Batch will now be the guy to start, and Dixon will be used in a change of pace package when the game dictates it.