Should Pittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams wind up not play Saturday in the AFC Wild Card game against the Cincinnati Bengals because of a foot injury that he suffered this past Sunday, he will be missed in more ways than just one.
While Williams is certainly a great all-around running back in any are of the field, he showed this past season that he can be relied on in short-yardage situations.
Over the course of the season, Williams carried the football a total of 40 times when the Steelers offense needed 3 or less yards for a first down or touchdown and 27 times those runs resulted in positive results.
Williams, however, really excelled this season in short-yardage situations down close to the opponent’s goal-line as 10 of his 15 carries from the 3-yard-line and in resulted in a touchdown.
Should Williams miss Sunday’s game, it will be interesting to see how either Fitzgerald Toussaint or Jordan Todman perform in any short-yardage situations. During his career, Todman, the more experienced of the two backup running backs, has carried the football 11 times in short-yardage situations and 9 of those runs resulted in either a first down (8) or a touchdown (1). Toussaint, on the other hand, has yet to carry the football in a short-yardage situation during his brief NFL career.
The only other short-yardage option the Steelers will have Saturday against the Bengals outside of Toussaint and Todman is fullback Will Johnson and he is 1-of-4 in those situations for his career with a touchdown and has only carried the football a total of 7 times since coming into the league.
Williams’ status for Saturday won’t likely be known until 90 minutes before kickoff. He has, however, already ditched the walking boot he’s been wearing on his right foot so that’s a good sign even though he didn’t practice on Wednesday.