The Pittsburgh Steelers will be without wide receiver Diontae Johnson for some time after he sustained a hamstring injury in Week 1. Johnson will reportedly miss a few weeks, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Johnson reached for his leg at the end of a 26-yard catch-and-run in the second quarter of the Steelers’ 30-7 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. He had to be helped off the field and to the locker room by the team and was soon ruled out for the game with the hamstring ailment. Johnson finished the game with three receptions for 48 yards on six carries.
The Steelers offense struggled as a whole against the stout 49ers defense — both with and without Johnson. Quarterback Kenny Pickett finished with 232 passing yards and one touchdown but threw two interceptions while Pittsburgh rushed for only 41 yards. Johnson finished second on the team in receiving yards behind offseason acquisition Allen Robinson, who tallied 64 yards on five receptions.
The loss of Johnson for any period of time is huge for the young Steelers squad. He’s caught at least 86 receptions in each of the past three seasons and averaged almost 1,000 receiving yards per season over that span as well.
Without Johnson, the Steelers will have to lean heavily on a receiving group led by Robinson, who joined Pittsburgh in an offseason trade from the Los Angeles Rams, and second-year wideout George Pickens. Tight end Pat Freiermuth is also an adept pass-catcher, though he finished Week 1 with just one catch — a four-yard touchdown.
Pittsburgh’s run at the AFC North will be even tougher given the rest of the division. The Steelers take on the Cleveland Browns in Week 2 — who just held Joe Burrow’s Cincinnati Bengals to three points in a huge win — and will still have to contend with the high-powered Baltimore Ravens. Despite the loss, the Bengals are be a quality opponent and are the two-time defending divisional champions.