Big Ben probably without top WR, center for finals

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PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to be without their best receiver in Ben Roethlisberger’s final game.

The Steelers placed wide receiver Diontae Johnson on the reserve / COVID-19 list on Thursday along with center Kendrick Green, making it unlikely any of them will clear the records in time for the season finale of the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.

Cornerback Joe Haden was also placed on the reserve / COVID-19 list on Wednesday, and defensive coordinator Keith Butler signed the minutes 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 met the Ravens. Rookie tight-end Pat Freiermuth is next with seven touchdown receptions, while second-year wide receiver Chase Claypool is number two on the team with 823 receiving yards, but he has only one touchdown.

The Ravens have the league’s worst passing defense, allowing an average of 8.2 yards per carry. trials and 30 submissions. Johnson had 105 yards on eight catches in the Dec. 5 win over the Ravens. Although the third-year receiver has not hit 100 yards in the four games since, he is still Roethlisberger’s favorite goal scorer with 159 goals. He captured the quarterback’s lone touchdown pass in Monday night’s win over the Cleveland Browns.

Meanwhile, the Green Browns missed the match with a calf injury and JC Hassenauer started in his place. With Hassenauer in the lineup, the Steelers’ running game thrived and rookie Najee Harris got 188 yards. Although the Ravens have the NFL’s best running defense, Harris will likely be used even more Sunday in Johnson’s absence.


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