To say that Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Cortez Allen had a bad game Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts would a huge understatement. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to recall a game played so poorly by a Steelers cornerback.
Allen, who signed a four year contract extension worth $24.6 million just prior to the start of the 2014 season, single-handedly gave up several explosive plays and touchdowns Sunday to the Colts and it resulted in the former fourth-round draft pick being benched late in the game in an effort to preserve a win.
After the game, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin gave the obvious answer as to why he replaced Allen with Antwon Blake late in Sunday’s game.
“Yeah he was giving it up and we needed stops. It’s simple as that, you have to play better,” said Tomlin. “(Antwon) Blake came in and made a play for us and it was significant.”
Despite him being benched, Tomlin also made it clear that he still has confidence in his young cornerback moving forward.
“Make no mistake (I) got a great deal of belief in Cortez,” said Tomlin. “He’s got to bounce back from this but I did what was necessary tonight to secure victory. I told him that. We expect him to come back to work (and) to be ready to rock and roll next week.”
Next week the Steelers host the Baltimore Ravens and a win could result in them taking control of the AFC North division. There’s no way that Allen will be allowed to start that game as Brice McCain will once again get those honors. With Allen struggling as bad as he is right now, Tomlin might better think twice about putting Allen on the field at all against the Ravens. While Allen should be allowed to dress next Sunday to help out on special teams, Blake should be the third cornerback off of the bench as he deserves a shot even though he’s extremely undersized.
The Steelers hope to get veteran cornerback Ike Taylor at some point, but even though he’s now back practicing on a limited basis, there’s still no timetable as to when he might be cleared by the doctors. Once Taylor does return, William Gay will likely play outside with McCain manning the slot in the nickel sub package.
Allen has lost whatever confidence that he might have had heading into Sunday and right now he needs to sit and watch for a game or two. He will get another chance sooner rather than later to prove that he can make it past this horrible spot in his career. The Steelers just can’t afford to let him try to work through it on the field and especially not against the Ravens next weekend.