I think we’ll be in a pleasant, agreeable mood after this one. Any complainers are getting coal in their stocking.
Ben Roethlisberger: Roethlisberger is an elite quarterback. He’s had a ton of great games this year. But this was his best. Not only did he light up the stat sheet, 364 yards and four touchdowns – but the degree of difficulty on his throws was what set this one apart. The double-coverage deep ball to Antonio Brown at the end of the third quarter. The dime to Markus Wheaton in the middle of the field, and the great timing throw on Wheaton’s touchdown. He should have finished with a fifth to Martavis Bryant had it not been for a drop. Maginificant performance by one of the league’s best.
Antonio Brown: Brown can do it all. He can catch. He can return. He can slide down goalposts. Eight catches for 118 yards and two receiving touchdowns plus the 71 yard punt return. Dude just can’t be stopped. There isn’t anything else that needs to be said.
DeAngelo Williams: I don’t really care for MVP conversations, they’re generally pointless with each person setting their own criteria, but if you’re going to have one, Williams has to be apart of it. Without him, there is no running game. He continues to churn out the tough yards as often as he provides the explosive ones, averaging a healthy 5.2 yards per carry while chipping in five receptions. His pass protection has been overlooked, too, and in one example, he picked up a blitz that allowed Roethlisberger to scramble for 13 yards and move the sticks.
Alejandro Villanueva: A little offensive line love. Villy shut down Robert Mathis, holding the veteran end – and Colts’ sack leader – without a sack. His play has steadily improved and tonight, at a glance, was his best performance.
James Harrison: I said Harrison’s season had been pretty disappointing. He shut me up tonight to the tune of three sacks, beating Joe Reitz several times in the second half. The score helped in that endeavor, being up big lets your pass rushers go to work, but Harrison looked like the 2009 version of himself and has given new life to his quest to become the Steelers’ all-time sack leader. He needs three more to pass Jason Gildon’s 77.
Keith Butler: Going big picture here. Thought he called a good game tonight. You may have been frustrated by his three man rush on Frank Gore’s touchdown but you probably weren’t complaining when Jarvis Jones got his pick off the same rush on the first drive of the game. Thought he mixed his pressures and coverages well. Brandon Boykin’s interception was a trap coverage and nice call from Coach Buts. Kudos.
Vince Williams: Rotating in with Ryan Shazier, Williams actually finished with one more tackle. A sure tackler and thumper against the run, he continued to show the traits that has been clear on tape during practically his entire NFL career. Hopefully he continues to see the lion’s share of the rotation snaps even when Sean Spence returns. VW is clearly the superior player.
Brandon Boykin: You’re probably patting yourself on the back but you wanted him Steelers’ nation, and you got it. William Gay made Boykin’s INT happen for his tip but Boykin made an athletic play to dive and get under the football. He showed his coverage skills several times tonight.
Jacoby Jones: Everything AB did right, Jones did wrong. An opening kickoff fumble bought the coffin. A second fumble on a punt return – luckily recovered by Pittsburgh – put the nail in it. He’s as good as gone. Only question is who will replace him.
Chris Boswell: Not many losers or poor performances tonight so on a short list, we have to get a little more picky. Boswell did nail a 51 yarder, not easy task at Heinz Field, but he did miss on a 47 yarder that would have made it a 31-10 game in the third quarter.
Bud Dupree: On a day where all his fellow outside linebackers made plays, Dupree was very quiet. Just one tackle on the stat sheet. Want to see a better impact, especially when his opposition was a 7th round rookie from Mars Hill. To be fair, the guard gave a lot of help but still, a relatively quiet performance on a day where there were plenty of pass rushing opportunities.
Jordan Berry: He’s barely had to punt over the last month and only once tonight. It was a less than stellar one, albeit one with him backed up near his own goal line, going for 37 yards. Again, it’s minor, but in a blowout win, there aren’t a lot of other choices to fill the list.