On Sunday night, the Pittsburgh Steelers will be playing the Cincinnati Bengals in a game where head coach Mike Tomlin told the media he will not go lightly in. Tomlin and the Steelers expect to finish the last three regular season games strong even though their playoff hopes have just about evaporated. The black and gold would need luck that is nearly impossible to come by to even have a shot at the sixth seed anymore.
On Thanksgiving night, left tackle Kelvin Beachum went down with an injury classified as a knee sprain according to Tomlin. Beachum made his first start of the season at left tackle in Week 5, after Mike Adams lost the job due to a terrible performance in the first moth of the regular season. Beachum played strong protecting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger‘s blind side against some fierce pass rushers over the course of the season. Guys like Elvis Dumervil, Terrell Suggs, Muhammad Wilkerson and Mario Williams were all held to little or no success when lining up against Beachum.
“I would think he earned the right to be in there right now,” offensive coordinator Todd Haley said on Thursday. “He played at a pretty high level for us while he was in there against good competition. He’s earned every right, as much as anybody else has to be in there and playing.”
When Beachum missed last week’s game against the Miami Dolphins, Adams had a chance to redeem himself at left tackle and he answered the call of duty. Adams excelled while Roethlisberger and the offense passed for three touchdowns, but the effort was just short of a Steelers’ victory.
“(Beachum) is a mentally tough guy who carries a chip on his shoulder,” said Haley. “He’s been told he’s not good enough to do a lot of different things, and yet he tries to prove everybody wrong and has to this point. I just love having him on our side, a great guy to work with.”
Even with Adams’ late redemption at left tackle, Beachum is clearly still the man in Pittsburgh. Although Adams is a second-round pick who the Steelers had higher hopes with, the seventh-round lineman from SMU has flourished. Beachum is back in practice this week as the Steelers are etching closer to playing a rivalry game with the Bengals. Expect no one else to start at left tackle than Beachum if he is cleared to go.