Pittsburg Steelers linebacker James Harrison was suspended by the NFL for one game and he will miss the showdown against the 49ers on Monday night. Harrison laid a brutal, helmet-to-helmet hit on Browns QB Colt McCoy on Thursday night. McCoy came back into the game two plays later even though he was motionless after the hit. McCoy suffered a concussion on the play.
Luckily for the 49ers and Alex Smith, Harrison will not be on the field when the Steelers travel to San Francisco. The hard hitting linebacker will appeal his suspension, which will be heard later this week.
"From what I understand, once the quarterback leaves the pocket, he's considered a runner," James Harrison.
I doubt the suspension will be overturned as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is coming down hard on illegal hits to quarterbacks. To top it off, Harrison has a history of drawing fines and penalties for illegal hits. Last season Harrison was fined a total of $120,000 however this is the first time he has been suspended by the NFL for illegal hits. During his suspension Harrison cannot be at team’s facilities including the stadium and being at practice. In the last three seasons Harrison has five illegal hits on QB’s.
For the 49ers this is great news after losing to the Cardinals. The 49ers will take all the help they can get as the Steelers have ten days to prepared for Monday night’s game. Somehow, even with Harrison not on the field, the 49ers offense will still not be able to score a touchdown inside the red zone. The offensive line has to be happy too as they don’t have to contend with the menacing Harrison rushing on the outside. The offensive line has given up 18 sacks in the last three games compared to 21 sacks given up in the first ten games this season. Harrison has eight sacks this season and would have caused trouble for the offensive line.
Ben Roethlisberger Injury
While the Steelers will be without one of their best players on defense, the offense might be without QB Ben Roethlisberger on Monday night as well with an ankle sprain. It has been reported Roethlisberger has a Grade 1 ankle sprain which is the least damaging. The Steelers quarterback is walking with a boot and did not practice on Tuesday. Roethlisberger came back in the Browns game after suffering the ankle so I would expected him to play. Still, Roethlisberger will not be 100% and his lack of mobility because of the ankle should be exploited by Vic Fangio and the defense.
In case you missed it here is the Harrison hit: