A win against a winless team has never felt more monumental but perhaps focus should not be paid so much to the Miami Dolphins’ winless record but more so towards the fact that the Pittsburgh Steelers and Mason Rudolph were able to bounce back after going down 14-0 early. Monday’s victory has the Steelers as winners of two in a row and they are going to need all the momentum possible to take on the Indianapolis Colts this Sunday.
Like the Steelers, there are many players trending upwards though there are still a couple pieces on the team that can improve.
DE Cameron Heyward – Stock Up
Oh captain, my captain!
Cameron Heyward helped right the Steelers’ ship through hard times as he added six tackles, one sack and two quarterback hits Monday night. Heyward has played his best football on Monday Night Football this season as he has recorded 3.5 sacks and five quarterback hits during the Steelers’ two Monday night contests this season. Playing their first game without Stephon Tuitt, Heyward was one of many players who stepped up as the Steelers’ defense did not miss a beat despite missing an integral piece of their defensive line.
CB Joe Haden – Stock Down
Joe Haden was one of the few Steelers to have a poor showing Monday night as the veteran cornerback had a tough time with rookie wide receiver Preston Williams during majority of the first half. While Haden has normally been the one consistent piece in the secondary, this was not the case Monday as he initially struggled to contain Williams off the line of scrimmage. Now 30 years old, the veteran cornerback looked his age Monday night though hopefully this was just a one-off occurrence.
OLB T.J. Watt – Stock Up
I am almost running out of good things to say about T.J. Watt. Every week he elevates his game to a new level as he creates a highlight worthy play or two. Watt recorded two sacks, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery on Monday night giving him six sacks and three forced fumbles on the season. The outside linebacker has now recorded 19 sacks over his last 23 games and his name has been permanently etched with the top pass rushers in the league. Since 2018, only six players have recorded more sacks than Watt and only five players have recorded more quarterback hits. That is some elite territory to be in.
RB Benny Snell Jr. – Stock Down
After rushing for 75-yards against the Los Angeles Chargers, many were eager to see how Snell would build on the performance against the Dolphins. With Jaylen Samuels also being ruled out on Monday, Snell would resume his duties as the second string back but unfortunately his night did not go as planned. Snell rushed for 13 yards on five carries while also suffering an injury to his meniscus. After undergoing surgery earlier in the week, expect Snell to miss the next two to three weeks as he recovers from meniscus surgery.
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster – Stock Up
WR1 or not? JuJu Smith-Schuster ended that debate Monday night with his first 100-yard receiving performance of the season. While not a lot of balls have come his way this season due to the quarterback situation, Smith-Schuster made the most of his targets Monday night as he caught five passes for 105 yards. The most significant detail of his performance is perhaps the fact that almost every catch came with a defender draped on his back. Top receivers must be contested catch winners and Smith-Schuster was just that Monday as he helped push the Steelers back into winning graces.
S Minkah Fitzpatrick – Stock Up
Minkah Fitzpatrick continued to prove the worth of his first-round price tag as he added two more interceptions on Monday night. Fitzpatrick now has three interceptions on the season and with one more interception, he will become the first Steelers’ player to record four or more interceptions since 2010. The former Dolphins’ safety has recorded three interceptions in just five games with his new team this season and with nine more games to go, it will be exciting to track just how many more plays Fitzpatrick makes on the backend of the defense.
S Terrell Edmunds – Stock Down
While Fitzpatrick has provided a spark to the Steelers’ defense, his partner Terrell Edmunds has not provided much. By no means has Edmunds been a poor player but he has not been a great one either. Edmunds has been very bland across the board this season as he has yet to record an interception, forced fumble or even fumble recovery, though he is second on the team in tackles. A former first round pick, the Steelers must be hoping that they can get more out of Edmunds.