The Pittsburgh Steelers are easily one of the best teams in the NFL so far this season. They have started 5-0 and have looked excellent on both sides of the ball. So, are they Super Bowl contenders? It appears so, but they just suffered a massive blow to their Super Bowl title hopes after seeing one of their best players go down with an injury — linebacker Devin Bush.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have had an excellent start to the 2020 season
So far this season, the Steelers have been one of the biggest surprises in the NFL. They have looked really, really good.
Their offense is currently No. 5 in the NFL in points per game, as they are averaging 31.2 per outing. Ben Roethlisberger and his weapons have looked great too, as Roethlisberger has thrown for 1,178 yards, 11 touchdowns, and only one interception so far, while James Conner has run for 369 yards and four touchdowns. Roethlisberger has also found a nice young weapon in Chase Claypool, who has 17 catches for 335 yards and four touchdowns so far this year, in addition to two rushing touchdowns.
While their offense has been great, Pittsburgh’s defense is a big reason they have started 5-0. It is currently second in the NFL right now, only allowing 18.8 points per game. The Steelers have some great pieces on defense too, such as Mike Hilton, Devin Bush, T.J. Watt, Stephon Tuitt, and others.
However, they just lost one of those top players, which could ultimately really hurt their chances of winning a Super Bowl.
Devin Bush is one of the Steelers’ top players
Devin Bush came to the NFL in the 2019 NFL draft out of Michigan, as the Steelers selected him with the No. 10 overall pick. He has since become one of their best players too.
Bush had a great rookie season, as he recorded 109 total tackles in 2019, forced one fumble, recovered four fumbles, and picked off two passes. He ultimately proved his potential in his rookie season, and had just been building on that so far in 2020.
Through four games and part of a fifth, Bush continued his stellar play this year, recording 26 total tackles, which is second on the team. Bush had been one of the Steelers’ most valuable players on that side of the ball this season. However, sadly, his 2020 campaign appears to be over.
Bush reportedly tore his ACL against the Cleveland Browns
During the second quarter of a 38-7 win over the Cleveland Browns, Bush dived to make a tackle when he missed the running back and moved awkwardly on his knee. Bush ultimately suffered a torn his ACL and will need season-ending surgery, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
“I just want to send my thoughts and prayers to Devin and his family and everything he’s going through right now,” Roethlisberger said after the win, according to ESPN. “It makes you sick when a young player like that gets hurt, and I need to send my thoughts and prayers to him.”
This loss could ultimately be a crushing blow to Pittsburgh’s Super Bowl title hopes. He is not only one of the team’s leading tacklers, but he is also the team’s defensive play-caller, and the Steelers don’t have much depth to replace him.
According to ESPN, while Vince Williams has played well beside him, Robert Spillane had only played eight snaps on defense before coming in for Bush toward the end of the first half. Their other inside linebacker, Ulysees Gilbert III, was inactive on Sunday and has been for every game this season.
ESPN did report that Marcus Allen could move to that position. He is a safety traditionally but also took reps with the inside linebackers during training camp. That still isn’t a great option, though, when they just had one of the best young players at that position playing for them.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have been fantastic on both sides of the ball so far this year and have become Super Bowl contenders. However, it will be hard to replace their leader on the defensive side of the ball, as this could ultimately be a massive blow to their Super Bowl hopes.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference