Turnovers for Steelers help take sting out of Mike Hilton’s elbow injury
TAMPA, Fla. – With his right elbow wrapped in ice inside the Pittsburgh Steelers locker room, Mike Hilton preferred the way he started Monday Night Football to how he finished.
The Steelers’ nickel cornerback had a fumble recovery and an interception in the second quarter of the Steelers’ 30-27 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium.
But Hilton also suffered a hyper-extended elbow while making a tackle in the second half, an injury that forced him to watch the final minutes of the game from the sideline while Cameron Sutton filled in for Hilton.
It’s an injury that Steelers coach Mike Tomlin termed “significant” but Hilton called a “slight hyperextension.” The Steelers can’t afford to lose Hilton, who is one of their top playmakers by blitz and in coverage.
“It’s part of it. It sucks but I’m happy I did my part and I thought we had a real good game and a big win for us,” said Hilton, who finished with five tackles (four solo). “I’ll be ready for next game.”
Hilton was ready for the Bucs, twice finding himself in position to make a pair of pivotal plays as the Steelers outscored the Bucs, 24-3, in the second quarter.
The first came when cornerback Artie Burns forced a fumble by receiver Chris Godwin, and Hilton recovered. Two plays later, Antonio Brown caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger for a 16-7 lead at10:33 of the second quarter.
Later, Ryan Fitzpatrick attempted a pass to DeSean Jackson that was deflected at the line of scrimmage by Steelers inside linebacker Jon Bostic and landed in Hilton’s hands at the Steelers 6.
“When we get turnovers like that, it eliminates those big plays and gives our offense opportunities,” Hilton said. “You’ve got to let it come to you. You get one and you just try to make big plays.
“I just try to do my job. I know what the team looks for when I come in, so I don’t try to do too much. I try to make plays come to me and when they’re there, I try to make them.”
Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Kevin at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.