He may have not yet had the luxury of joining the touchdown party—he is actually one of only four skill position players this season without a touchdown reception now—but Pittsburgh Steelers second-year wide receiver Sammie Coates had a big night, and it only started with his league-leading fifth reception of 40 yards or more.
In all, Coates caught six passes for 79 yards, with both representing team-highs, as well as game-highs for both teams. Of course, 47 of those yards came on one play, but the 32 yards that he added on his five additional receptions also proved to be valuable, and also, perhaps, hinted at the young player’s gradual emergence as a more complete wide receiver.
Ben Roethlisberger targeted Coates in the passing game eight times, and the two incompletions were more of the quarterback’s doing than the wide receiver’s. The first incompletion was a second deep-ball attempt in the direction of Marcus Peters at cornerback, who was able to defend the ball away. The second incompletion came on a bit of a scramble drill later in the game in which Roethlisberger overthrew the mark.
Coates caught all six of his additional targets, starting with the 47-yard bomb, which was actually an underthrow on which he did a nice job of climbing over Peters in order to capture the ball in the air. It was, in fact, the Steelers’ first play from scrimmage, and came from their own five-yard line. They were able to immediately flip the field as a result, but the drive stalled due to a holding penalty and then a sack as they approached field-goal range.
On the team’s second drive, the Steelers ran a reverse for him, but he was lucky just to get back near the line of scrimmage, as the Chiefs defense did a nice job of staying disciplined and did not bite on the window dressing that led up to the play.
Late in the first half, Roethlisberger looked Coates’ way on consecutive plays, the first being a nine-yard grab on second-and-four from Kansas City’s 21-yard line. A quick screen pass on the next play picked up three yards and put the Steelers inside the 10-yard line, with Roethlisberger finding his tight end for the score two plays later.
On the Steelers’ final scoring drive, Coates worked the scramble drill well on third down, Roethlisberger extending the play, on which they needed five yards to move the sticks. With the quarterback flushing out to his right, he followed the pattern and made himself available, and Roethlisberger found him for an 18-yard catch and run to approach midfield. The Steelers were able to make it 43-7 at that point in part thanks to that conversion.
Overall, it was probably the most complete outing that we have seen from Coates so far, which is obviously a rewarding sight, given that the team may well be relying on him in a much bigger way starting as early as next season—or even this season, if he continues.