The Pittsburgh Steelers, who already have 2014 Pro Bowl running back Le’Veon Bell on injured reserve, will have to take on the Cincinnati Bengals in Saturday’s AFC wild card game without his replacement, DeAngelo Williams.
A Pro Bowl selection in 2009, Williams injured his right foot during the first half of Pittsburgh’s regular season finale against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, which they won 28-12.
The 32-year-old Williams was replaced by Fitzgerald Toussaint, who rushed for 24 yards on 12 carries, and Toussaint and Jordan Todman will handle the job against the Bengals, the Steelers said on Friday.
“He is a diligent worker,” Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters about Toussaint. “He brings a business-like approach.
“He’s one of those guys that everybody is excited about seeing play. He really works hard to put himself in position to be a positive asset or contributor to us when given the opportunity.”
Toussaint, who was activated off the practice squad on Nov. 27, has big shoes to fill in the absence of Williams, who rushed for 907 yards and 11 touchdowns on 200 carries this season.
“I have to be ready to take on the task,” said Toussaint, who carried the ball 18 times for 42 yards in the regular season.
Bengals without Dalton
Quarterback Andy Dalton, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, has been ruled out by the Cincinnati Bengals as well.
Dalton, who broke the right thumb on his throwing hand while making a tackle during a Dec. 13 game against the Steelers, will be replaced by AJ McCarron.
It will be the first time in his five-year career that Dalton, 28, has been ruled out of a wild card game, even though head coach Marvin Lewis had hinted earlier this week the quarterback could still play a backup role.
"Andy continues to progress well, he's doing just what he's supposed to do," Lewis told reporters on Wednesday.
"We're preparing for AJ McCarron to be the starting quarterback. Whether Andy is the backup or where he is, we'll know down the line."
Dalton had the cast removed from his thumb on Wednesday and threw a pass for the first time since the injury, but with his left hand.
On Friday, the Bengals said that Keith Wenning would back up McCarron, the former Alabama standout.
McCarron, who threw a pair of touchdown passes while leading the Bengals to a 24-16 victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday in their regular season finale, will be making his fourth NFL career start, all in place of Dalton this season.