Markus Wheaton had his best day on a football field Sunday. More yards in a game than in the NFL, college, and even high school. It was a well-deserved today for a player who had struggled to produce but one that didn’t catch his teammates off guard.
“He was playing ball and having fun doing it. He played a great game for us. I am proud of him,” Martavis Bryant told Teresa Varley of Steelers.com.
Wheaton’s 201 yards is the sixth most in franchise history and the second time this season the Steelers have had a 200+ yard performance. Antonio Brown, as I’m sure you remember, had a franchise-record 284 yards against the Oakland Raiders on November 8th. The two join Plaxico Burress as the only Steelers over 200 since 1961, a pretty amazing timespan. Burress recorded his in that memorable 34-34 tie with the Atlanta Falcons back in 2002.
One hard worker recognized another.
“If somebody catches fire you have to sit back and watch. It’s fun to watch, especially when it’s one of your good buddies. You love to see the happiness and emotion flying around,” Roosevelt Nix told Varley.
Wheaton has played well this season, even if the stats didn’t always tell that story. He’s arguably the second most detailed-oriented receiver on this team, only behind Brown, and is a much more proficient blocker despite the two being the same size. So it’s rewarding to see a player like that have a breakout performance.
It’s rare for an offensive lineman to be giving a receiver props for his blocking but that’s what Marcus Gilbert pointed out.
“What he does for us in the running game, he doesn’t get noticed for it but he does it all.”
Earlier in the week, Todd Haley said how Wheaton performed without getting the ball would “define me.” So far, so good.