Martavis Bryant “accepted” Ben Roethlisberger’s challenge, putting to bed the whirlwind of concerns over his play to end the regular season. But the spotlight hasn’t left him and with Antonio Brown’s status up in the air for Sunday, Bryant and company could be asked to pick up the slack.
But it isn’t a thought that runs through his mind.
“I’m not even focused on that right now. All I’m worried about is preparation for this week and whether he plays or not, we’re going to have to go out and execute,” Bryant told the media earlier this week, posted on Steelers.com.
And though he’s coming off a game in which he made the most spectacular catch he’s ever made, and maybe ever will make, he is taking a humble approach, leaving the past in the past.
“It’s a little bit better [than being challenged] but at the same time, I’m not getting complacent with it, you know. Gotta put the same preparation into it this week and go out and execute.”
Bryant will likely be shadowed by Aqib Talib, though if Brown misses, Chris Harris could take him. Bryant racked up 10 catches for 87 yards, and as that stat line suggests, several of those were hard-nosed, contested grabs.
The Steelers will need all available bodies playing their best, not just because of the injuries to Brown, Ben Roethlisberger, and DeAngelo Williams, but because they’re facing the best defense in the NFL with a healthier secondary than the first meeting. Safety T.J. Ward missed Week 15 but will be a full-go this time around.
Though Bryant has been met with many obstacles this year, a four game suspension, unfocused play, he’s shown a knack for responding and rising to each challenge. From a distance, remember I’m just a lowly blogger, Bryant carries himself extremely well as a humble yet confident, well-spoken individual. The Steelers will again need the best from him in order to move onto the AFC Title game.