Prior to this one, it was considered a “BOLD prediction” on our Steelers Depot Twitter account for Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Ladarius Green to come out of this game against the New York Giants with a 100-yard game and a touchdown. As it turns out, sometimes it pays to go bold.
The fifth-year tight end, who spent the first half of his first season in Pittsburgh on the Physically Unable to Perform List, played today in his fourth game of the year, and saw by far his most extensive playing 10. He recorded a new high for his career in many categories, including receptions, targets, and total yards.
In all, Green finished the day with six receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown. He actually nearly had a second touchdown late in the game before the Steelers attempted their final field goal, but Ben Roethlisberger’s pass was too high out of the back of the end zone. The play otherwise was executed well, making him available in the end zone.
Entering the game, Green had only played about 40 or so snaps in his first three games. He caught five passes for 97 yards, but against the Colts, in the previous game leading into today, he caught two passes that both went for over 30 yards—33 and 35 yards, to be specific.
That ignited the excitement over what the Steelers might be able to unlock in Green down the stretch, a bonus shot in the arm for an offense that has been operating essentially without a number two wide receiver for more than half the season now.
The former San Diego tight end added yet another two receptions of at least 30 yards, giving him four in 11 catches. He had another reception go for 33 yards, and he set a new high for the season with a 37-yard reception. It was actually the second-longest reception of his career, behind a 60-yard touchdown in 2013.
It was also the first 100-yard receiving game of his career, something that he never did in his four years in San Diego—but, of course, he was playing behind a tight end who is bound for the Hall of Fame as early as within five years after he chooses to retire.
Green’s impact on this game, and what is means for the rest of the season, was a big one that cannot be understated, and it’s notable to think that it started with a dropped pass. But Roethlisberger, always putting the trust in his receivers, went back to him on a down-field throw on the next play for 37 yards.
Green also converted four times on third down for the Steelers, including that 37-yard play, as well as his touchdown reception, which went for 20 yards. Half of his receptions in this game, and five of his 11 on the season, have gone for explosive plays.