The wild season continues. Check your blood pressure, Steelers’ Nation.
Antonio Brown: You might as well give him a permanent home on this list. Sure feels like he’s here every week. 15 catches. 181 yards. 2 TDs. Almost exclusively against Chris Harris Jr, one of the best corners in the game. Brown sure made Harris wear that “junior” tag in his name. We’re going to have to start making up adjectives to describe how amazing he’s been (stupentastic?). He’s just been that good (wondermazing?).
Cam Heyward: Now a little love to the defense. Heyward had another sack, giving him 7 on the season and likely to match last year’s total of 7.5. There is so much to love about his game but what I love maybe the most is his energy and leadership. Guys just feed off of that. There are few things more intense than 97 pumped up. Makes me want to hit someone. I continue to sit at home and eat Bagel Bites, but it makes me feel like doing something.
William Gay: Gay has been quiet on the year because of how little teams target him. But he came up huge on the defense’s final drive, including breaking up a 4th down pass intended for Emmanuel Sanders to help preserve the victory. His run defense and ability to rally and tackle the catch can’t be overlooked either. He continues to be the best Steelers’ CB on the field.
Keith Butler: I know, I know, I know. That first half was brutal. Awful. The no-good, very-bad first half. But the Steelers did a 180 in the second half, holding Brock Osweiler to completing just 26.9% of his passes. That’s after going 14/18 in the first half. I’m not quite sure what adjustments the Steelers made, and part of the credit goes to the players themselves executing, but credit to Butler for spearheading it. This was a huge test for him as a coach.
With flying colors.
Markus Wheaton: Have to keep giving Wheaton props too. All he does is make difficult catches and produce big plays. 6 catches for 62 yards and a touchdown on the day. He’s gone berserk the last month and not a moment too soon for Steelers’ fans.
Mike Mitchell: There’s a lot of love to give to all the safeties today in at least some way. Robert Golden nearly had a pick, Will Allen forced a fumble that led to the team’s first score of the afternoon. But I thought Mitchell was the most consistent of them all, bringing running backs down in the third level, and coming up with a huge pass breakup in the second half that got the Steelers off the field.
Bud Dupree: There is credit to be given for his hustle that may have produced Ryan Shazier’s INT. But even that was a product of him getting run upfield and out of the play, something that happened too many times tonight. He recently admitted he’s felt tired and it’s showing on the field. Hitting that dreaded rookie wall and it’s causing sloppiness in his technique. He’s been ineffective as a pass rusher for too long now.
Cody Wallace: Several members of the offensive line could be placed here on a day where Roethlisberger was sacked three times, pressured on money others, and “led” a running game to 23 total yards. Granted, the Steelers threw a ton and that will lend itself to pressures and sacks, especially against the best pass rush in the NFL. But Wallace was the worst, allowing at least one sack and being penalized three times. It extends his season lead to 12 while no other Steeler has more than five. That included another stupid personal foul.
Wallace had gotten much better since the first four weeks but regressed to that form today. Ugly performance that he hopefully puts past him.
Antwon Blake: In the same way I’ve run out of ways to describe AB, I don’t know what to say about Blake anymore. The words you use on him probably can’t be repeated on here. For the life of me, I don’t know why the teams starts him with the knowledge they will eventually bench him. But don’t let Blake dominate the comments section. Enjoy the win. That is so much more fun. I promise.