The victory was not without its downsides, however.
Troy Polamalu, the Steelers' defensive backfield dynamo, sprained his MCL when a Titans player fell on his leg during the scrum that occurred after Steelers DE Aaron Smith blocked a Rob Bironas field goal attempt.
Prior to the injury, Polamalu had already registered six first half tackles and an interception.
Pro Football Talk reports that Mike Tomlin speculated during his post-game press conference that Polamalu will likely have to miss three to six weeks. Tomlin was not certain, and we should know more today after Polamalu has been more fully examined, but three to six weeks is the typical recovery time for MCL sprains.
I will update this post if we learn anything new later this afternoon.
For the Steelers, any extended time lost for Polamalu would obviously be troublesome.
While Pittsburgh seems to be able to replace linebackers with relative ease from one season to the next, Polamalu is the one truly irreplaceable player on their defense because of his peerless instincts and superb athleticism. He is one of a handful of defensive players in the NFL who is truly capable of making a game-changing play on every snap.
If you have the Steelers D in fantasy, losing Polamalu clearly hurts their value from the standpoint of being a weekly TD threat. Still, the Steelers have Dick LeBeau and enough other solid veteran players to remain a top-three defense with or without Polamalu.
In leagues that use individual defensive players, Polamalu owners will have to adjust for what looks like at least a month. Typically, IDPs are relatively interchangeable, but Polamalu is one of the few guys I’d actually consider stashing on my bench if I could afford to do so. Luckily, there are no byes to deal with over the next three weeks.
If you can find a way to keep Polamalu and still field a full, healthy roster of players, do it. Obviously if you need a QB, RB, or WR to complete your lineup, Polamalu might have to to go. Hopefully he’ll slip through the cracks for you and can be reclaimed down the line.
*Photo credit: Sportsocracy.org