During his postgame press conference, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin revealed that the injury Alexander sustained is serious.
“It appears Kwon Alexander has a serious lower-body injury,” Tomlin told reporters. “He’s being evaluated but not promising there.”
A report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter confirmed the seriousness of Alexander’s injury. Schefter tweeted that the veteran linebacker will miss the rest of the season because of a torn Achilles.
“Steelers’ LB Kwon Alexander suffered a season ending torn Achilles today, per source,” posted Schefter on X (formerly Twitter).
Alexander left during Pittsburgh’s first defensive drive of the game at about the 5-minute mark of the first quarter. The Steelers allowed a touchdown on the play immediately after Alexander departed.
Pittsburgh’s defense, though, yielded just two second-half field goals and helped the Steelers hold on to beat the Packers, 23-19.
Steelers Lose Kwon Alexander to Injury
Alexander has mostly been a reserve linebacker for the Steelers this season, but he’s played a lot in coverage situations. In fact, Alexander came into Week 10 with more defensive snaps than linebacker Elandon Roberts even though Roberts has technically been a defensive starter for the Steelers this season.
Losing Alexander was a significant storyline for Pittsburgh against Green Bay. He will be a major loss for the rest of the year.
Without Alexander, the only experienced inside linebackers left for the Steelers in Week 10 were Roberts and second-year linebacker Mark Robinson. Although he started two games in 2022, Robinson came into Week 10 with just 4 snaps played on defense.
In Alexander’s absence, the Steelers also deployed three safeties more often in the second half. Former undrafted defensive back Elijah Riley lined up in the middle of the field to help the Pittsburgh pass defense.
The Packers converted 4 of 6 third-down opportunities in the first half. Green Bay went 4-for-10 on third down after Pittsburgh’s halftime adjustments.
Steelers Thin at Inside Linebacker
General manager Omar Khan revamped his inside linebacker corps by signing Holcomb, Alexander and Roberts this offseason. Roberts is now the last one standing.
Without Holcomb and Alexander, Robinson will likely see a major increase in playing time.
Robinson played in four games, starting two of them, as a rookie in 2022. But he’s mostly played special teams this season.
Robinson hasn’t had a snap on defense this season since Week 3.
The Steelers elevated linebacker Tariq Carpenter from the practice squad to the active roster for Week 10. Carpenter is an option for a permanent roster spot with Alexander likely headed to injured reserve.
Through the first eight games of the season, Holcomb and Alexander played 800 total defensive snaps. Holcomb was fifth on the team in defensive snaps during the first half of the season.
That’s now a giant hole in the middle of the Steelers defense. Roberts and Robinson will need to play more, but Tomlin and his defensive coaching staff will likely search for other creative ways to make up for the now thin inside linebacker room for the Steelers.
Alexander is set to be a free agent at the end of the season. He signed a one-year deal worth about $1.3 million.