Over the course of the last two games, Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Ladarius Green hasn’t hadn’t a huge impact on offense but that all changed Thursday night as the team’s $20 million free agent caught two passes in the win over the Indianapolis Colts for 67 yards.
Green, who was targeted a total of three times in Thursday night’s win, made his first big catch of the game on a 3rd and 13 play from the Steelers 33-yard-line with 10:33 left in the second quarter. On the 32-yard reception, Green lined up on the left side of the line of scrimmage and ran a deep out with Colts linebacker Erik Walden in coverage. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger lofted a deep pass to Green while backpedaling away from the pass rush and Green caught it over his shoulder. Two play later the Steelers scored.
Green’s second big catch of the night came with 7:51 left in the fourth quarter when Roethlisberger hit his tight end down the right side of the field on a 1st and 10 play from the Steelers 36-yard-line. On this play, Green ran away from Colts linebacker D’Qwell Jackson and the play netted 35 yards.
The Steelers signed Green this past March with the hopes that he would become a vertical threat tight end in the offense. Offseason ankle surgery, however, prevented him from playing in the first eight games of the season as he was forced to rehab while on the Reserve/PUP list.
Earlier this week, Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley indicated that Green would be a “full-go” Thursday night after the tight end had played just 21 total snaps in the last two games. Green appeared to have logged a little more playing Thursday night and he delivered with his two big catches.
About the only negative concerning Green’s play Thursday night was the fact that he was penalized for illegal hands to the face on a 3rd and 10 play with 7:13 left in the second quarter. That penalty wiped out a 17-yard completion from Roethlisberger to wide receiver Antonio Brown and the drive stalled on the very next play.
With Green now on track, the Steelers need to find a way to get a few of their other young wide receivers going as Sammie Coates, Cobi Hamilton and Eli Rogers combined to catch just 3 passes for 41 yards against the Colts on 6 total targets.