Wow. Today, we are all winners.
Antonio Brown: He put the team on his back. Or more accurately, his left hand. He made the play of the SEASON, somehow keeping his body upright despite two or three Baltimore Ravens falling on top of him, moving the ball from his right to left hand, and stretching him arm over the goal line.
He was quiet in the first half, his most notable play negated by his own pass interference. But Todd Haley correctly got him involved in the second half, throwing short and throwing over the middle. He picked up gains of 26 and 21 yards on the drive that gave Pittsburgh a 24-20 lead and then of course, that play outlined above, which may go down in Steelers’ history.
It’s the play you tell your grandkids about.
Brown finishes the day with 10 catches for 96 yards and that score.
Le’Veon Bell: The Ravens’ front is tough but Bell and the OL did a really good job. They set the tone early on their 87 yard opening drive and though the run game stagnated, Bell was able to create in the Steelers’ comeback. He ran hard, made his own yards when need be, and scored the then go-ahead TD before Brown’s.
122 yards on the ground. 15 through the air. Against a top five defense.
Offensive Line: The whole unit. They played physical, again, setting the tone early, and giving Bell some big holes to start the game and get the Steelers’ their first touchdown. And they kept Ben Roethlisberger clean almost the entire night, not sacked in 33 attempts and officially hit only three times.
Game ball to them and Roosevelt Nix, who paved the way many a time.
Eli Rogers: Young Eli stepping up in a big moment, as Mike Tomlin challenged him before the game. He made the catch of the day, an insane snag over the middle on that final drive. But that wasn’t all he did, catching another three and finishing the day with 84 total yards. We’ll be talking about him a lot this week but his maturation process has been fun.
Xavier Grimble: Just one catch today but it was a big one, running a skinny post over the middle and taking a hard shot while securing the game’s first touchdown. TDs against the Bengals and Ravens this year? Not too shabby.
Ross Cockrell: I know this isn’t one of the first guys to think of and he didn’t play great but Cockrell seemed to gut this one out today. He was dealing with something, maybe a shoulder or arm injury, and played through it, making a couple key tackles late. They weren’t pretty, nor easy, but they were there, and Cockrell helped keep the Ravens’ vertical attack in check.
I honestly don’t want to dwell too much on the losers today. Such a good win. You can hash it out in the comments.
Chris Boswell: I still love The Boz but yeah, launching two kickoffs out of bounds is going to get you on this list. That isn’t acceptable.
Missed Tackles: It’s across the board issue. William Gay was bad. The defensive line missed too many, including the newly minted Johnny Maxey. Not enough hats to the football, not enough guys getting off blocks, not enough consistent tackling. That will need to change.
Bud Dupree: He had a sack today but he struggled to get consistent pressure, even when James Hurst was in the game. Standing around and watching Mike Mitchell on the Ravens’ final touchdown was awful, and would’ve been the clip of the year until AB did what he did.