Hard to think of a better way to end this day than a Pittsburgh Steelers’ win on primetime TV. Agreed?
Antonio Brown: I know I don’t list him for every game where he’s impressive. Maybe I’m numb to the big plays he puts on routinely. But even Rip Van Winkle would’ve felt what AB did tonight.
Brown went for thirds tonight, becoming only the third WR in the Kevin Colbert era to score three receiving touchdowns in a game. A final line of five catches, 91 yards, three touchdowns.
Though there was another silly penalty off his first touchdown, that doesn’t come close to outweighing how pretty everything else was. He burnt an injured Vontae Davis and essentially knocked him out of the game. He is the NFL’s supreme route runner and you know we’re going to break down some of those plays for the morning.
Le’Veon Bell: Bell and the Steelers can’t quite bust off that big run the last two weeks but that somehow makes his 5+ per carry average all the more impressive. Consistency successful runs. He wasn’t used as much as a receiver against the Colts but his level of effectiveness was the same. Bell is one-of-a-kind.
Ladarius Green: There was an unsightly hands to the face call that wiped out a third down conversion but he did what he was brought in for: big plays. Two catches, one going for 32, the other for 35. It’s an element the Steelers really need and hopefully one that continues.
Marcus Gilbert: Watching the offensive line on TV is tough but I think it is clear Gilbert had a good game. Got to the second level as a run blocker, had one nasty hit in the first half, and kept Ben Roethlisberger upright. Kudos to him. Maybe that time off from his injured foot helped heal up his injured elbow; at least for a little bit.
Mike Mitchell: Oh the comments will be fun to read about this one. No player has been more divisive than him but even the hardiest of naysayers have to tip their hat to him. It was probably inarguably the best game of his career. He is the embodiment of being a physical player with a 4th down breakup in the end zone thanks to a monster hit. Mitchell also recorded his first interception of the season and make a tackle on Scott Tolzien on the goal line.
I could gush for awhile about him but bottom line is this. Dude had a great game. MVP of the defense.
Javon Hargrave: Fat men in the middle can be tough to judge first time through but Hargrave looked like he had a legitimately great game tonight. Held his own against the run, the Colts were held to 2.7 per carry, and recorded a sweet ankle-nipping sack to set up a 3rd and 15 (which was converted). Can’t wait to watch him again.
Ben Roethlisberger: Almost forgot him. He was really good, as always. Could’ve even been better if he had gotten more help from his receivers. Three touchdowns. No interceptions. Six incompletions. Life is good.
Artie Burns: Let’s patch things up after last week’s rocky road, ok? Burns’ name wasn’t called much tonight but I am assuming that’s a good thing. He made one really nice tackle in space on Donte Moncrief and seemed to lock things up on most passes.
Sammie Coates: I know his fingers are still on the mend but this was not a good game from Coates. He struggles to fight for the ball on contested plays and his timing on any route that isn’t a deep ball is poor. As David Todd pointed out, he and Ben have missed on the last 13 targets. That might be a record.
Coates still flashes talent, he has a nice stem on his vertical concepts and gets on top of corners but that makes it all the more frustrating.
Lawrence Timmons: I am pretty lukewarm on putting Timmons here. I don’t think it was all bad but Tolzien picked on him in coverage and he was called for a roughing the passer, even if getting out of the way was pretty much impossible. He’s been playing good football most of the year; this game would be considered below average.
Danny Smith: Again, a little hesitant to put him here. But the fake was converted on his watch, even if Jordan Dangerfield was six inches away from making it a great defensed play. The Colts also had a couple nice returns tonight, too.
Not related to him being on this list but I wouldn’t sit he and Antonio Brown next to each other at the dinner table. Smith is surely none too happy about another 15 yard penalty that put his unit in a tougher spot.