The Pittsburgh Steelers' already suspect offensive line took a massive hit early Sunday when three-time Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey was carted off with what the Steelers called a right knee injury -- one that looked extremely serious. Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Pouncey was taken to a hospital for an MRI and was out for the game.
(Update: Bouchette later reported that Pouncey had suffered a torn ACL and torn MCL, injuries that will require surgery and end Pouncey's season.)
Pouncey was blocking on a run play when teammate and right guard David DeCastro dove directly into his lower leg. What exactly DeCastro was doing is unclear. Pouncey had his man blocked up high, and had DeCastro made contact with the defender it would have resulted in a 15-yard chop-block penalty. That outcome would have been preferable for the Steelers to what actually occurred, with DeCastro going helmet first into Pittsburgh's best offensive lineman. (See the full play below.)
Kelvin Beachum, a 2012 seventh-round pick, slid into Pouncey's vacated center spot, leaving ex-Jaguar Guy Whimper as the lone backup offensive lineman left on the bench. Undrafted free agent Cody Wallace, who's listed as the team's backup center on the depth chart, was inactive for the game. Pouncey was the Steelers' first-round pick in the 2010 draft, at No. 18 overall. Since then, he's started all but three games for Pittsburgh, earning those three Pro Bowl bids and a 2011 First-Team All-Pro nod