It was the breakout game we all were waiting for. None more than Markus Wheaton himself, of course.
Wheaton practically doubled his season totals Sunday, catching nine passes for 201 yards and a touchdown, a career day for yards in him. As in, the most yards he’s had in the NFL, in college, and in high school, career day. He spoke to reporters after the game and shed some light on what exactly made this game click.
“[Seattle] just ran a lot of two high to take away the outsides. The middle was wide open. Obviously, Heath came out and made a huge impact early. And then when we went out of the game, I took over.”
The presence of Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant dictated Seattle’s coverage, opening up the middle of the field.
“Today, they tried to take away [Bryant] also. Rolling over the top of Martavis. So like I said, the middle was wide open. That’s where you see games where Heath comes out and makes a huge impact. And then when he went down, I kinda stepped in.”
Miller caught five passes for 45 yards before leaving with a rib injury. Leaving a rookie tight end in Jesse James and Matt Spaeth at tight end, Wheaton’s performance was the type the Steelers needed. He won vertically, catching a 69 yard touchdown, made the difficult catches underneath, was quick to the tuck after the catch, and showed his scramble drill chemistry that reminded me of what we saw with him in training camp. He
But the only stat that jumps out more is the box score, a 39-30 loss. That means ultimately, Wheaton failed his mission.
“We come here to win games. We travel to win games. We play to win the game. The other things are just extra. So it kind of kills the day.”
Wheaton and the Steelers will take on an Indianapolis Colts defense ranked 27th in pass defense next Sunday night.