The Pittsburgh Steelers just took a big hit along their offensive line heading down the stretch of the regular season.
According to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, starting offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert has been suspended for the next four games due to a PED violation. He will not be appealing the suspension.
Steelers OT Marcus Gilbert suspended 4 games for violating NFL’s policy on performance enhancing substances. 4th Steeler in 3 years suspended multiple games: Bryant all of ’16, Bell 3 in ’16, 2 in ’15.— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) November 20, 2017
Steelers GM Colbert: "We are disappointed . . . He will not appeal— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) November 20, 2017
This is a big loss for Pittsburgh, as Gilbert has consistently been one of their best offensive linemen ever since he signed a five-year, $30 million extension in 2014. It made him one of the league’s highest-paid tackles at the time, something he was living up to for several years, though he’s struggled to live up to it this season.
Regardless, this is big news for the Bengals. Assuming Cincinnati can take care of business in Week 12 against the 0-10 Browns, they’ll be 5-6 going into their Week 13 clash with the Steelers on Monday Night Football.
The Bengals are already one game out of a Wild Card spot in the AFC playoff picture. A win over the Browns and Steelers in the next two weeks may very well put Cincinnati into the driver’s seat for one of those two Wild Card spots.
That Week 13 matchup with Pittsburgh just got a lot more favorable for the Bengals’ surging pass rush, which is currently tied for the fourth-most sacks this season (29).
When the Bengals were 3-6, the stars needed to align in a big way for them to even have a shot at the postseason. After winning at Denver for the first time in four decades before a gimmie game against Cleveland, it appears those stars may very well align for what would be a near-miraculous playoff berth.