As with last week, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Lance Moore made a brief cameo appearance in yesterday afternoon’s game, only this time you didn’t have to ask yourself whether or not you really saw him out there.
His first snap, in fact, was also his first reception as a Steeler, targeted by Ben Roethlisberger on third and 13 with nine minutes left in the second quarter. The veteran sat down on the route at the sticks and brought it in, though he came an inch or two short of the first down.
Roethlisberger was successful on a fourth-down quarterback sneak, though Moore’s blocking on said play was less than compelling. Yet he remained on the field, replacing Justin Brown as the slot receiver in the 11 personnel package during the drive.
After the first down, Moore attempted to run block, but it came up shorter than this lone reception did a first down, allowing the corner to tackle Le’Veon Bell after a gain of one yard on the play.
Admittedly, he did find a bit more success blocking for Bell on two consecutive plays after an incomplete pass. By my count, he played eight snaps on the drive, and was the first one to greet Antonio Brown in the end zone after his second touchdown.
Justin Brown was back in the slot on the Steelers’ next possession, but Moore replaced him for a second time on the fifth play of the drive, playing three snaps, including a spike, at the end of the first half for 11 total snaps.
Moore did get one snap on the Steelers’ opening drive of the second half, on second and goal, but it was in a four wide receiver set, and thus not at Brown’s expense.
After Antonio Brown’s deep drop, he came off the field, moving Justin Brown outside and Moore on the field and into the slot, just for a single snap.
After playing the final snap of the Steelers’ drive that ended midway through the fourth quarter, on which he did replace Brown, his day was done.
14 total snaps on the afternoon, although that’s significantly more than he managed to play the week before.
After that game, head coach Mike Tomlin explained that, like anybody with an injury in his situation, he will need to work to earn his playing time. While he jumped from one snap to 14 snaps, it’s clear that Brown was still the third receiver this week.
Will this be a trend going forward, with Moore playing a bit more week by week and taking more snaps from Brown? It’s not as though the latter has been making plays, having already lost a fumble and dropping a touchdown.