Well, this sucks.
Antonio Brown: The man, the myth, the legend. Hall of Famer, but you probably already knew that. Insane catch after insane catch. And on a calf that I’m sure, at best, felt pretty sore. He looked a little slow out of his break on his first route and came out of the game. I was worried – silly me. He was spectacular, as always. Too bad very few others could match that.
Le’Veon Bell: I still don’t think the team is going to pay him what he wants but he sure went out with a bang today with a “pay me” type game. Ran the ball well against a tough Jaguars’ defense, busting off a couple bu runs we don’t often see from him.
Ben Roethlisberger: I don’t quite put him at Bell and AB’s level today because of the fumble (held onto ball too long) and the INT (bad throw). But beyond that, he was freakin’ brilliant. Every deep ball money. Found his playmakers. Made plays with his legs. That crazy lateral to Bell at the end of the fourth. Wow. Give me more of that please (seriously Ben, I beg, come back in 2018).
Robert Golden/Danny Smith: For that sweet blocked punt. Great design, overloading the Jaguars right side (we’ll break it down later in the week) and leaving Golden free off the edge. Unfortunately, the offense couldn’t do anything with it. But still, a great play.
Martavis Bryant: Liked what he did as a blocker and more importantly, of course, was his 36 yard touchdown at the end of the first half, giving the Steelers life. 28-7 vs 28-14 is a big difference. He played a much better final four or five weeks of the season. Hoping that picks up in 2018.
Vance McDonald: He was excellent. Making guys miss in space, yards after catch, this was the guy the team hoped to get all year long. Health only prevented that. Big day today.
Tomlin/Haley/Butler: Yup the big three all “make it.” Tomlin for that onside kick call at the end of the game and the general nausea I feel for letting the Jaguars score 45 (45!!!) on Pittsburgh. Haley for the 4th and 1 pitch and desire to try to run outside when it had no chance to work (and if I know it, there’s a serious problem). And Butler for…that whole mess on defense, issues so deep I’m not going to write about it all here. Bad. Bad. Bad.
Pass Rush: I get the Jaguars didn’t throw the ball often. But there were clear third down chances to get to him. And they didn’t so much as sniff Blake Bortles. For a defense that led the league in sacks. It’s across the board. Heyward. Tuitt. Watt. Dupree. Those are the main suspects.
Sean Spence: Decent against the run but a clear liability in the passing game. Exposed in coverage, even against backs. And when the Jags did throw, they generally looked to where #51 was at. Tough game.
Third Down Defense: Going a little broader here too. Jacksonville came into today with the 20th ranked third down offense and went a puke-worthy 2/12 in the Wild Card win over Buffalo. Today? 8 of 14. No pass rush, not contesting enough throws, some blown coverages/missed assignments. Ugh.