You wanted him—and we know you do, we’ve gotten the Tweets—and you got him. Pittsburgh Steelers rookie wide receiver Sammie Coates was not only active for the team against the Broncos in the Divisional round last evening, he also made an impact on the game, serving in a role made possible, or rather necessary, by the concussions suffered by Antonio Brown.
While he was not necessarily an integral part of the game plan as the fourth wide receiver on the depth chart for the matchup, playing perhaps a couple dozen or so snaps during the game as a quick estimate, he managed to be impactful on his four targets.
Three of those targets resulted in positive outcomes for the Steelers—rather positive outcomes, in fact. On the second drive of the game, on third and eight after having already gone three and out on the first drive, Ben Roethlisberger found Coates short, who was able to get past Chris Harris and turn it upfield after reaching the sideline for a big 37-yard gain, and their first first down of the game.
That drive stalled three plays later, and the Steelers ended up going three-and-out on the next drive as well, featuring a deep target for Coates over the middle on third and nine that was not a catchable ball, but Roethlisberger seemed to be informing him of a mistake after the failed connection.
For the next roughly 30 or so minutes of game time, Coates became invisible, but he had a bit impact on the Steelers’ late third quarter drive that bled into the fourth quarter, which featured both of his other two targets during the game.
He was the recipient of the first target on the drive, taking a short pass over the middle and again piling on the yards after the catch, chased out of bounds by Harris only after picking up a total of 24 yards, most of which came with the ball in his hands.
A few plays later, with the ball at midfield, Roethlisberger targeted him again along the left sideline on a deep pass that fell safely out of reach of the wide receiver, but that was only because of a Bradley Roby pass interference, which netted the offense 12 yards for the infraction.
Coates spent the majority of his rookie season on the inactive list, listed as an inactive for 10 of the Steelers 16 regular season games, and also inactive for the Wildcard game. All of the games in which he was active game as a result of injury.
Considering the fact that he logged time in only three games during the regular season for a total of 37 snaps, coming in the three games in which Martavis Bryant and Tyler Murphy were both not on the roster, that Coates recorded two receptions for 61 yards, including two explosive plays, in the Divisional round was a very goal result for the rookie, and, hopefully, a preface for what he will show in year two.