Officially, the Pittsburgh Steelers will be without their two top offensive weapons against the Cincinnati Bengals. Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (concussion) and running back James Conner (shoulder) were officially ruled as inactive for the Week 12 divisional tilt.
Quarterback Paxton Lynch, cornerback Artie Burns, linebacker Tuzar Skipper, offensive lineman Chukwuma Okorafor and tight end Zach Gentry will join the two as inactives.
Smith-Schuster and Conner suffered their respective injuries in Week 11's loss to the Cleveland Browns. Both Pro Bowlers in 2018, the Steelers will have to find a way to replicate their talents with lesser-known backups.
Wide receivers Diontae Johnson, James Washington, Johnny Holton, Tevin Jones and Deon Cain will prop-up the passing game led by quarterback Mason Rudolph. Johnson cleared concussion protocol after sustaining a concussion against the Browns.
The run-game will go through Jaylen Samuels, Trey Edmunds, Benny Snell and Kerrith Whyte. Snell, a rookie fourth-round pick out of Kentucky, is excited to get back in action after failing to play the last three games with a knee injury.
“It was frustrating because I love football, I love my job, I love what I do every day,” said Snell, via the team's official website. “Being away from my teammates and not being able to practice, it kind of hurt. It made me value how much I love the game, love my teammates. I love football.”
The Steelers are hoping for the young bunch of wide receivers and running backs to hold the ship afloat against the winless Bengals before their rematch with the Browns next week.