Donning a supporting cast of Xavier Grimble, Eli Rogers and Jesse James and up against one of the best defenses in the NFL, the expectation for an offensive explosion from the Pittsburgh Steelers seemed incredibly slim. But due to a Christmas Day performance that saw the supporting cast expand into a headlining role, the Steelers were able to put up 31 points and 406 yards of total offense. This would be the Steelers largest amount of yardage against the Ravens since 2004.
You may have just re-read that last sentence and asked how an offense missing the likes of Ladarius Green, Sammie Coates, Markus Wheaton and Martavis Bryant managed over 400 yards against one of the toughest defenses in the NFL. The answer you are looking for is equal contribution from the Steelers’ offense.
While most of the recognition for the feat and victory will be directed towards the ‘Killer Bs’ trio consisting of Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, it would not have been possible without the works of another trio of players – Grimble, Rogers and James. The latter trio provided 159 critical yards of offense and stepped up big on the Steelers’ final drive.
Of the 75 yards gained on the final drive, 48 came at the hands of Rogers and James. Rogers’ mid-air grab and James ability to work the middle of the field were instrumental to the Steelers’ fourth quarter comeback. While Grimble may have been held without a reception on the final drive, he did snatch the Steelers’ first touchdown on the opening possession. The supporting trio had their hands all over the way the Steelers’ opened and closed Sunday’s game.
This is perhaps the best holiday gift for offensive coordinator Todd Haley as he saw his game plan come to fruition. Haley and the Steelers know that expecting a singular replacement for the likes of Bryant or Green would be preposterous but that a combination of players to fill that void could be successful.
Sunday was the first showing of the potential Grimble, Rogers and James offer to fill that void. Individually, they could not match the production of the fourth ‘Killer B’ in Bryant or the ‘Green Ferrari’ in Green, but together the trio is more than capable enough to supplement Brown and Bell in the Steelers’ offense.