I’m going to be sick. Anyone have a paper bag?
Ben Roethlisberger: After his worst performance in the NFL last year, Roethlisberger was fantastic today. He spread the wealth, completing passes to eight different receivers, and was efficient with the football. Only nine incompletions to three touchdowns while throwing for well over 350 yards.
His fake spike/Marino play at the end would’ve been one for the highlight reel if the defense could’ve done its job. He did what he could to keep the Steelers in it. No question about that.
Le’Veon Bell: I don’t think the stat sheet is all that pretty, but he earned every yard he got tonight. He bobbed and weaved through the lane, created yards, and kept the sticks moving. Was again the Steelers’ second best receiver – though Eli Rogers did play well – and finishing with nine receptions and his first touchdown of the year.
Eli Rogers: Speaking of him, he stepped up to be a reliable #2 option for this team today. His touchdown catch was a great route and adjustment to the football and he played consistently, ending the day with four grabs for 42 yards and that score.
Antonio Brown: Always at least good, often great, AB was closer to the latter today. 14 receptions, 154 yards, the almost-winning score, and a big punt return for good measure. He made tough catches, he made splash plays, he made them in critical situations. Fun stuff.
Ryan Shazier: He was the impact player for the Steelers today, shooting gaps that led to tackles for losses or holding calls. Shazier led the team with nine tackles.
Anthony Chickillo: Chickillo has been a better source of energy as a pas rusher and seems to have a knack for knocking the football loose. His forced fumble today was the second of the season and created some much-needed splash for Pittsburgh early in the game.
Run Defense: It’s an 11 man job so it’s impossible to pin it on one person. Zeke Elliott is as tough a back as the Steelers will face, and that offensive line is elite, but still, no one is walking away feeling good about a 114 yard performance on the ground and nearly another 100 through the air.
Keith Butler: Giving up 35 points is more than double what Butler’s “standard,” which at this point, seems more like a fairytale. The Steelers again gave up chunk plays, two of them, and they don’t win when that happens. I assume Butler will just say players have to “do their job” from now on.
Artie Burns: Tough stuff from the rookie. Dez Bryant totally outclassed him and even though Bryant pushed off on the 50 yard touchdown, Burns’ technique was poor. He struggles to transition downhill and hasn’t offered enough big plays to really justify starting him on an every-down basis.
Sean Davis: There were some positives in this one and usually, I leave the players with a mixture of both off these lists. But Davis’ facemask on the final drive was the costliest thing to happen today and just unacceptable. I know he’s trying to rip the ball out. But just take Jason Witten to the ground. Stupid, stupid.
Mike Tomlin: And if penalties are reflected of coaching, then it’s hard not to put Coach T on here. I actually have pretty much no problem with any of the two point decisions but the Steelers’ inability to be disciplined reared its ugly head at the games’ worst moments. Ross Cockrell’s personal foul and the Davis facemask. Ugh.
There weren’t a lot of penalties today, just four, but those were punches to the gut.
Robert Golden/Mike Mitchell: I don’t know if both were egregiously bad today, there were some breakdowns on the Elliott touchdown but I didn’t get a great read on what happened (Dallas executed very, very well), but these guys have to make some big plays. Zero interceptions or forced fumbles from your starting safeties throughout nine games? Unexplainable, unacceptable.