The 2017 calendar year has been quite the roller coaster ride for Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant. While the life of an NFL athlete is surely an exciting life to lead, it is tough to find an individual with a crazier year than Bryant. From being suspended, to reinstated, to trade rumors, to being disciplined for calling out a fellow teammate and now back in post season action, Bryant has had quite the ride. And while statistically Bryant has not had the season he and many others hoped for, he has closed the 2017 year on the right note.
Over the last three games, Bryant has caught 13 of 17 passes that have come his way for 184 yards and scored one touchdown – an impressive one-handed touchdown grab against the New England Patriots. Bryant’s catch percentage of 76-percent is also his best effort during a three-game span this season.
What is even more impressive about Bryant’s increased contribution to the offense is he has done this all without fellow wide receiver Antonio Brown, who has missed majority of the last three games with a calf injury. Without Brown attracting double coverage, Bryant has had to fend for himself and the Steelers wide receiver has done a tremendous job at finding ways to produce.
Bryant has showed that the deep ball is still his best asset, catching passes for over 30 plus yards in back to back weeks against the Patriots and Houston Texans. The first being a magnificent diving effort down the sideline and the other a tight sideline pass which Bryant managed to catch in bounds. Against the Cleveland Browns in the season finale, Bryant caught six passes with three of them turning into first downs. The Steelers’ season finale has been a reflection of Bryant’s ability to move the chains all season as the receiver has caught 16 receptions on third down with 13 producing a fresh set of downs.
Bryant’s final efforts for the 2017 season read – 50 receptions for 603 yards and three touchdowns. While his final stat line fails to hold up or outdo his 2015 or 2014 efforts, his contributions during December football this season do out produce his previous efforts. In Bryant’s final three games of 2015, the wide receiver posted 12 catches for 93 yards. Bryant’s final three game stretch of 2014 was no better, just five catches for 96 yards and one touchdown.
Though the Steelers may not have home field advantage this post season, their offense is exactly where they need to be as they enter the postseason. Factor in a red-hot JuJu Smith-Schuster, a returning Brown and a sizzling Bryant, the Steelers are heading into the post season with one of the NFL’s best firepower offenses in recent memory.