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Added January 3rd, 2012 by Scott

Pittsburgh Steelers lose running back Rashard Mendenhall for the season

The Pittsburgh Steelers are playoff bound once again this season after ending the regular season with an impressive 12-4 record and clinching one of the two AFC Wild Card spots. With a matchup with the AFC West division champion Denver Broncos in the first round of the playoffs, the Steelers have a good chance of cruising to victory over Tim Tebow and the struggling Broncos.

Despite the excellent chance of advancing to the next round, the Steelers suffered a major blow in the regular season finale against the Cleveland Browns with running back Rashard Mendenhall going down with a knee injury. Reportedly, the knee injury is pretty severe as Mendenhall has a torn ACL in his right knee and will miss the playoffs.

This injury is one of the those things that can happen in seemingly pointless games at the end of the NFL regular season that will seriously affected the Pittsburgh Steelers’ chances of making a deep run in the playoffs. The Steelers will most likely get passed the Broncos in the AFC Wild-Card Round, but will definitely struggle against the better teams in the AFC without Rashard Mendenhall coming out of the backfield.

Rashard Mendenhall came just shy of a 1,000 rushing yards this season with 928 before going down with this season-ending knee injury. The Pittsburgh Steelers will now look to second-year man Isaac Redman and John Clay (rookie) to shoulder the load out of the backfield when they take on the Denver Broncos on Sat. Jan. 7.

Even though this injury will definitely hurt the Steelers’ offense moving forward, Pittsburgh might still be able to break through the competition once again this season and make it to the playoffs. The lack of a potent running game will be noticeable, but might not be devastating if head coach Mike Tomlin can figure out how to fill the void at running back.

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