Eli Rogers’ contribution in Sunday’s victory over the Cincinnati Bengals was the most complete performance of the 23-year old’s young career. Not only was Rogers on the receiving end of Ben Roethlisberger’s game winning touchdown pass, but the Bengals game was the first-time Rogers had registered a reception in both halves of a game.
Rogers has pulled quite the Houdini act in the second half of games this season. In the 11 games that he’s has seen snaps in this season, he has failed to record a reception after halftime eight times. Rogers splits show that the receiver has 24 receptions in the first half and just 14 in the second half, with 10 of the 14 coming in garbage time defeats to the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins. Rogers’ 10 catches in those games were exclusive to the second half, leaving the pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver shut out in the first half.
The Bengals victory was a big one for the development of Rogers, who’s 4 receptions in the second half played an integral part in overcoming Cincinnati’s lead. Recording receptions of 28,24,17 and 9 yards respectively, Rogers showed the ability to spread the field which could not have come at a more critical time.
Starting receiver Antonio Brown was shut out of receptions during the second half as the Bengals shifted more attention his way, leaving Rogers the opportunity to deliver.
Rogers’ performance in the Bengals game might be enough to move him ahead of a receiving core that has been notorious for limitations this season. Rogers and his second half limitations are synonymous with Cobi Hamilton’s knack for only converting 3rd downs and Sammie Coates with his fingers. With the need for another receiver to respond, Rogers answered the call. A call that the Steelers hope he can continue answering.
If Rogers can close out the season the same way he closed out the Bengals game, there will be no debate of his rise on the Steelers depth chart.