Beyond Ben Roethlisberger getting hurt, do the Steelers even care who is injured these days? Pittsburgh has the top-ranked defense despite three Pro Bowl players (safety Troy Polamalu and linebackers James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley) missing a combined eight starts. The Steelers have won three straight games despite having a backfield so banged up that no one knows who is starting each week. And the Steelers are within one game of the division-leading Ravens despite an offensive line that has watched three projected starters (center Maurkice Pouncey, right guard David DeCastro and right tackle Marcus Gilbert) get sidelined for at least one game this year.
Brown plays a tough role in the Steelers' passing attack, going over the middle where he turns short catches into big gains. Mike Wallace proved he could do the same Sunday when Brown was out, taking a pass on a shallow crossing route and breaking away for a 51-yard touchdown.
The Steelers are fortunate that they have a talented backup in speedy Emmanuel Sanders, who has found a way to stay healthy this season. Sanders will also take over Brown's role as the primary returner. He averaged 25.3 yards on three punt returns and nearly broke one for a touchdown.