Penalty flags in the NFL are meant to control the game and prevent injuries, but Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster just learned the hard way that they can cause injuries, too.
During the Steelers‘ 27-3 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars this Sunday, Smith-Schuster tripped over a penalty flag as he was walking to the sideline, and it might even affect his availability for this week.
The Steelers blew out the Jaguars in Week 11
The Steelers just keep on rolling. Pittsburgh traveled to Jacksonville in Week 11 and steamrolled the Jaguars 27-3 to keep their undefeated record intact. It’s the first time the Steelers have been 10-0 in franchise history.
The defense dominated yet again on Sunday. After giving up just three points against the Jaguars, they have now surrendered fewer than 20 points in three straight games. Jacksonville mustered only 206 yards, and the Steelers defense forced quarterback Jake Luton into four interceptions.
On the other side of the ball, Ben Roethlisberger threw for 267 yards and a touchdown through the air. Diontae Johnson led the way with 12 catches and 111 receiving yards, while James Conner paced the ground game with 89 rushing yards.
Smith-Schuster wasn’t very involved in the offensive game plan this week, but he still made headlines with his unlucky injury.
JuJu Smith-Schuster suffered a bizarre injury
In a game without many storylines, the craziest might’ve been something that didn’t even happen during a live play. Before a Steelers offensive snap in the second half, the line judge from the right sideline tossed a penalty flag to the ground after a Pittsburgh false start.
Smith-Schuster, who was lined up on the right side of the field, nonchalantly moseyed over to the sideline after the whistles started blowing. On his way over, he accidentally stepped on the yellow marker and immediately hopped up and down in pain.
He hobbled to the bench after tweaking his foot on the flag and didn’t return to the game. The Steelers had a comfortable lead for most of the second half anyway, so they weren’t exactly rushing Smith-Schuster back to the field. He reportedly could’ve returned if needed.
Smith-Schuster’s availability for Thursday is up in the air
Smith-Schuster’s foot injury seemed minor at the time, but Steelers fans won’t be encouraged by the recent update. Although Pittsburgh didn’t physically practice on Monday, the team listed Smith-Schuster as a nonparticipant on the official injury report.
The star wide receiver will have two days to practice before the Steelers’ all-important Thanksgiving matchup against the division-rival Baltimore Ravens. If he can’t go on Thursday, it will be a massive blow to Pittsburgh’s offense and an extremely unlucky way to miss a game.
It’s safe to say Smith-Schuster will be treading lightly around penalty flags from now on.