PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers will likely be without their top receiver in Ben Roethlisberger‘s final game.
The Steelers placed wide receiver Diontae Johnson on the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday along with center Kendrick Green, making it unlikely either will clear protocols in time for the regular season finale at the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. Cornerback Joe Haden was also placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday, and defensive coordinator Keith Butler entered protocols the same day.
Johnson leads the team with 1,100 receiving yards on 100 catches. He also has eight receiving touchdowns, including two the last time the Steelers faced the Ravens. Rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth is next with seven touchdown receptions, while second-year wide receiver Chase Claypool is second on the team with 823 receiving yards, but he only has one touchdown.
The Ravens have the league’s worst pass defense, allowing an average of 8.2 yards per attempt and 30 passing touchdowns. Johnson had 105 yards on eight catches in the Dec. 5 win against the Ravens. Though the third-year receiver hasn’t hit 100 yards in the four games since, he’s still Roethlisberger’s favorite target with 159 targets. He caught the quarterback’s lone touchdown pass in Heinz Field in Monday night’s win against the Cleveland Browns.
Meanwhile, Green missed the Browns game with a calf injury, and J.C. Hassenauer started in his place. With Hassenauer in the lineup, the Steelers’ run game thrived, and rookie Najee Harris racked up 188 yards. Though the Ravens have the NFL’s best run defense, Harris will likely be used even more Sunday in Johnson’s absence.