Thought this was going to be an easy one, huh? Lesson learned – never is. Winners from the Pittsburgh Steelers’ win this afternoon.
JuJu Smith-Schuster: Who outproduced Antonio Brown for the second week in a row. He made clutch catches on third down over the middle of the field and caught a Ben Roethlisberger touchdown for his team-leading fifth score of the season. Finished the day with five catches for 97 yards and that score. Remarkable consistency for a rookie.
Jordan Berry: Arguably the MVP of the day. While the Steelers were working on staying between the lines in their coloring book, Berry was playing chess all day. 49.5 yard average on six punts, pinned the Colts inside the 20 three times, and maybe the biggest play of the day, getting in position to stop the Colts from returning a blocked extra point for two points. He didn’t make the tackle but he slowed the play up. Heck of a game by him.
Martavis Bryant: Most of what’s been notable about Bryant has come off the field. But today was all about what happened one it. Three catches for 42 yards, none bigger than a 3rd and 4 crossing route on the final drive. He also hauled in a tying two-point conversion. It didn’t get off to a pretty start after Roethlisberger threw a pick on the first play but he redeemed himself. For the game and maybe the start of doing so the rest of the season.
Stephon Tuitt: Tuitt recorded his first sack of the season and would’ve had another but it was negated by penalty. Though the run defense had their lapses, the defensive line held the point of attack to free up the linebackers. He wasn’t dominant but he felt close to it.
Mike Hilton: Hilton continues to be his steady self. Run defense was solid and the pressure he got, as it’s been all year long, was timely. Stat sheet isn’t gaudy but on a day where the secondary got beat up, both on the field and on the injury report, he’s been excellent.
Four Man Pass Rush: It’s slipped away over the past couple weeks and today may have been a low point. No quarterback had been sacked as much as Jacoby Brissett but it took until the second half, and Keith Butler blitzing, to generate pressure. That’s gotta get better and back to where it was the first six weeks of the season.
Artie Burns: As talented as he is frustrating, Burns allowed one of a couple big plays today. He bit on a Donte Moncrief double-move that hit for a 60 yard score. With no help over the top, that’s just a gamble you can’t take. With Joe Haden done for potentially the rest of the season, he’s going to be the “guy” at corner.
Todd Haley: No, not everything was on him. There were dropped passes, bad decisions, the usual. But Haley called a weird game. Far too cute for a Colts’ defense he called disciplined. The weirdest part may have been on the final drive when the offense seemingly was looking for OT until a couple of big plays sparked them.
And again, bottom line, this team didn’t get anywhere near 30 points against the highest-scoring defense in the NFL. Just not a good game, highlighted by his screaming match with Big Ben on a two-point conversion.
Ramon Foster: The run game was underwhelming, Le’Veon Bell averaged 3.1 yards per carry and as a team, they were under three, and Foster gave up his first sack of the season (or at least, it seemed pretty clear it was his fault on the TV tape). We’ll go back and look but looked like an ugly rep from him.
Jesse James: I’ll admit I didn’t get the best look at it but it seemed like James was at fault on the blocked extra point. Sure, he made the tackle but that’s just cleaning up the mess he made. It’s been a clear problem and hasn’t been fixed. Danny Smith and his unit struggled today.