The unthinkable happened in Week 13, when the Washington Football Team punched the Pittsburgh Steelers in the mouth and became the first team in 2020 to defeat them -- ending an 11-game win streak in the process. Antonio Gibson wasn't available for the entire contest to help them do it though, having been knocked out of the game early after logging just two rushing attempts for 14 yards. Trainers unsuccessfully attempted to rewrap what appeared to be his injured foot and/or toe, but the rookie third-round pick was simply in too much pain to proceed.
Furthermore, two days following the win over the Steelers, Gibson's status for Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers remains in doubt. The 22-year-old is reportedly dealing with a painful case of turf toe, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, and it will likely force him out of Week 14. It doesn't help that Washington is operating on a short week due to the rescheduled bout with the Steelers, that adding to the unlikelihood of Gibson taking the field on Sunday.
If he is eventually sidelined for the game, expect head coach Ron Rivera to look to veteran running backs Peyton Barber and J.D. McKissic to carry the workload behind quarterback Alex Smith. Washington is thankful they have capable talent in those two players but, make no mistake about it, any time missed by Gibson is a huge blow to what they'd like to -- and what they'd be able to -- do on offense.
While McKissic leads the RB group in receiving yards (408) as a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield, Gibson also offers that ability, and he's far and away the best rusher on the team. With just four games remaining in the regular season, Gibson leads the team with 659 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns, the latter figure being eight TDs more than second-place Barber (3). For perspective, Gibson has more than twice as many touchdowns as talented tight end Logan Thomas and nearly four times as many as dynamic wideout Terry McLaurin, which is to say Gibson is responsible for a massive chunk of offensive production in Washington.
The acquisition of Gibson was a key driver in the team's decision to move on from future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peters and, If Gibson sits, it won't be an easy void to fill for Rivera -- assuming it can be at all.