The Pittsburgh Steelers had the stout services of veteran tight end Heath Miller for 11 NFL seasons, from 2005 to 2015, at the end of which span he elected to walk away from the game and retire while he still had some tread left on the tires, albeit tread that was starting to wear thin.
Over the course of those 11 seasons, in 168 games played, all but one of them starts, he did only four times in his career what new Steelers tight end Ladarius Green did in just his fourth game with the team, and his first in which he saw a high volume of snaps: he posted a 100-yard receiving game.
On that note, it is actually interesting to point out the fact that two of those 100-yard games in Miller’s career actually have happened toward the end of his playing days. His most recent 100-yard receiving game came just last year in Week Eight against the Bengals, in which he caught 10 passes for 105 yards, with a long reception of 25 yards.
Miller also had a 100-yard game the year prior, in 2014—coincidentally, also in Week Eight—during a Steelers victory over the Colts, which has become something of an annual tradition. In that game, he caught seven passes for 112 yards, with a long of 49 yards, and had one touchdown reception.
That game in 2014 was actually his first 100-yard receiving game since the 2009 season, a year in which he posted some of the best numbers of his career—and, if I’m not mistaken, went to the Pro Bowl—with 76 receptions for 789 yards.
During the 2009 season, a game that became infamous for an onside kick attempt late in the game with the lead that the Steelers managed to win 37-36, Miller caught seven passes for 118 yards. His other 1000-yard receiving game came back in 2006, his second year, in the season opener. That was the game in which he caught a touchdown pass for 87 yards. He had just three catches that day, but for 101 yards.
Yesterday’s six-catch, 110-yard game was the first such in Ladarius Green’s tenure with the Steelers, but as I also noted yesterday, it was the first of his career as well. It was a banner day for the priority free agent signing, and a sign, as many within the organization believe, of things to come.
In four games—remember, three of which came with limited snaps—Green has 11 catches on the season for 207 yards, averaging 18.8 yards per reception, and a touchdown. Five of his 11 receptions have been explosive plays, coming at intervals of 20, 33, 33, 35, and 37 yards.
Green legitimately does have a chance, and an opportunity, to blossom into a phenomenal offensive weapons working as a priority target with Ben Roethlisberger as the man throwing him the ball. Now that he is finally up and running at what appears to be close to full capacity, and seeing what he is capable of doing, his critics have rapidly quieted down.