Sunday night will unofficially mark the start of Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant second season in the league as the former fourth-round draft pick out of Clemson will be playing in his 17th career regular-season game when his team plays host to the Indianapolis Colts.
While Bryant has put up solid numbers – 53 receptions for 1,058 yards and 14 total touchdowns – in his first 16 regular-season games, it’s fair to say that he’s left a few plays on the field during that span.
Even though several eyes will be on Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown Sunday night as he looks to rebound from his 6 catch, 51-yard performance last weekend in the team’s road loss to the Seattle Seahawks, don’t ignore the tasty matchup that Bryant has ahead of him against the Colts as he’s likely to be guarded by cornerback Greg Toler for a good portion of the game.
The Colts enter Sunday night’s game against the Steelers having already given up 36 deep pass completions that have traveled more than 15 yards past the line of scrimmage. The deep pass, of course, is one of Bryant’s strengths and he has 8 such receptions so far this season.
In last year’s game against the Colts, Toler was forced to spend most of his Sunday covering Brown due to fellow cornerback Vontae Davis leaving the game injured after just 11 defensive snaps. Brown ended up catching 10 passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns in that game with most of them coming against Toler. Bryant, on the other hand, caught 5 passes for 83 yards and two touchdowns in that game and there’s no reason to think he won’t have the same level of success Sunday night if covered by Toler.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger figures to go deep several times Sunday night against the Colts and if Bryant is able to haul in a few those in the first game of his “second season”, it might just wind up being a big one statistically.