The Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t have wide receiver Martavis Bryant for their Sunday night road game against the Detroit Lions as the former fourth-round draft pick out of Clemson was benched for the contest by head coach Mike Tomlin for his social media outburst last Sunday night. The Steelers were ultimately able to beat the Lions 20-15 without Bryant thanks to a great game by the rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, the player Bryant took a shot at in his now-deleted Instagram post.
After the win over the Lions, head coach Mike Tomlin was asked during his post-game press conference to disclose what went into his decision to make Bryant inactive Sunday night.
“I outlined that pretty crystal clear on Tuesday and I’m done talking about it, I am,” said Tomlin.
Tomlin was almost immediately asked if he’s confident that Bryant will be able to help the team down the stretch.
“I’m not,” Tomlin said. “We’ll see.”
As mentioned, Smith-Schuster had a huge game in Bryant’s absence as this year’s second-round draft pick caught 7 passes Sunday night for 193 yards and a touchdown. That touchdown, a 97-yard score from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the third quarter, is now the longest scoring pass play in the history of the franchise.
The Steelers will now have their bye week and it will be interesting to see how Bryant responds to his Sunday night benching when the team plays the Indianapolis Colts in Week 10. One would think that as long as Bryant isn’t a distraction over the course of the next few weeks that he’ll dress and play against the Colts.
The NFL trade deadline is this coming Tuesday and the Steelers have made clear that Bryant won’t be traded as the organization feels they have too much invested in him at this point.
In the past, several offensive players who have been sat by Tomlin over the years have responded in their first games back in action.