The Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t want to take any chances late against the Houston Texans.
They held a comfortable 34-6 lead late against the Texans, and decided to take out several of their key players. That meant quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and running back Le’Veon Bell were of course coming out, but some offensive linemen also finished the game on the sidelines.
Left tackle Alejandro Villanueva and center Maurkice Pouncey were also taken out of the game, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ed Bouchette.
It made sense, there was no reason to risk an injury to players who they will not be able to succeed without them healthy in the playoffs. They are already without wide receiver Antonio Brown for at least the rest of the regular season with a calf injury, and the rest of linebacker Ryan Shazier’s career is in question after suffering a spinal injury.
One player the Steelers may have left in the game too long, however, is rookie outside linebacker T.J. Watt. A Texans player rolled into his leg on a special teams play, which required Watt to head to the medical tent.
He returned to the field before the Steelers’ final defensive drive was over.