The Pittsburgh Steelers finally got the monkey off their back by defeating the New England Patriots last weekend. The offense and defense both executed their respective game plans to a tee, not once surrendering their lead to the Patriots. As a result, many players saw their stocks continue to rise and some even saw their stocks bounce back up. Here are all your latest Steelers’ stock movements.
CB Joe Haden – Stock Up
It is not about how you start but about how you finish. Joe Haden embodied that statement fully Sunday as the cornerback battled back from a sluggish start to grab what will likely be the biggest interception of the Steelers’ 2018 season. Sure, Haden allowed seven receptions on 10 targets and was flagged for an unnecessary pass interference call but his late interception erased all his previous slip-ups. Intercepting Tom Brady deep in Pittsburgh territory, out jumping both Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski helped preserve the Steelers’ lead and their victory over the Patriots. Big time players make big time plays and Haden certainly proved that last Sunday.
K Chris Boswell – Stock Down
Kicker Chris Boswell is a very difficult case to access. He missed a chip shot 32-yard field goal in the third quarter that would have given the Steelers a commanding 10-point lead. Despite the miss, Mike Tomlin called Boswell’s number once again, this time for a 48-yard field goal which the kicker nailed without issue. Boswell has now missed seven kicks this season and though the Steelers are sticking by him, you have to wonder if they are making the right decision.
WR James Washington – Stock Up
James Washington finally had his moment last Sunday. A tough contested catch down the sideline for 32 yards against the Patriots was the confidence builder that the rookie was looking for all season. Washington was the Steelers’ leading receiver last Sunday, catching three of four balls thrown his way for 65 yards. Washington may have to continue building on last week’s performance should JuJu Smith-Schuster’s groin sideline him this Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.
LB L.J. Fort – Stock Down
It looked like L.J. Fort had overtaken Jon Bostic on the Steelers’ inside linebacker depth chart but that got put into serious doubt after Fort saw his usage decrease significantly against the Patriots. After playing 52 defensive snaps in back to back weeks against the Chargers and Raiders, Fort was on the field for just three defensive snaps against the Patriots. Bostic on the other hand recorded 15 defensive snaps. It may be a continuation of limited snaps for Fort and Bostic again this Sunday as the Steelers take on the high-powered New Orleans Saints.
OLB T.J. Watt – Stock Up
T.J. Watt caused utter chaos in the pocket against the Patriots, making Brady’s day a living hell. With one sack and three quarterback hits, Watt disrupted Brady’s timing and rhythm all evening. A streaky player to begin with, last Sunday’s game could be a sign of an impending hot streak for the Steelers’ sophomore pass rusher.
Just three players with a rising stock after a huge win over the Patriots would be an injustice, so here are a couple more players who saw their stock rise after last Sunday’s win.
RB Jaylen Samuels – Stock Up
Though James Conner will not suit up again this weekend, the worries and doubt about the Steelers’ running game has subsided. That is because of the monster game that Jaylen Samuels put up on the ground against the Patriots. Samuels had 19 carries for 142 yards, an average of 7.5 yards per carry while also adding two receptions for 30 yards, none bigger than his catch on 3rd and 9 that went for 20 yards. With an important matchup with the Saints coming, Samuels will have to continue proving that he can hang with the big boys in the NFL.
LB Vince Williams – Stock Up
His stats were not pretty, just three tackles and one tackle for a loss but Vince Williams’ impact goes beyond the box score. The linebacker was responsible for being the primary communicator against the Patriots and he did a terrific job as the Steelers’ defense limited the Patriots to just 3/10 on third down and just 10 points.
QB Ben Roethlisberger – Stock Up
Two interceptions and a 79.9 passer rating certainly seems like Ben Roethlisberger should be trending down and not up but the quarterback did all he had to do against the Patriots. Out of nine total drives (not counting the kneel down), five went for 50 yards or more. Roethlisberger consistently moved the chains and kept the Steelers driving. His only real error was his first interception, which was overthrown as the second one happened to bounce out of the hands of Antonio Brown.