The Pittsburgh Steelers are typically due for at least one or two let down games a year and that tradition continued this year with Thursday night’s loss to the Cleveland Browns. With the offense colder than the weather and an injury report so full it could fill a binder, the Steelers were unable to put together much against the Browns. Here are all the latest stock movements from Thursday’s contest.
C Maurkice Pouncey – Stock Up
If you are a quarterback looking for some protection during and after the whistle, give Maurkice Pouncey a call. Pouncey is the guy you want leading you into battle. A huge statement was made Thursday night as the Steelers center rose to the aid of Mason Rudolph after the quarterback was nearly killed by Myles Garrett. Just like he has done a few times over his career, Pouncey showed that no one messes with his quarterback and gets away with it. While he may serve a three-game suspension as a result of his actions, Pouncey reminded the Browns that while they may have emerged victorious, there would be no chance they would get to bully the Steelers without consequences.
QB Mason Rudolph – Stock Down
Mason Rudolph had the worst game of his professional career on Thursday night as he threw a career high four interceptions. It was likely Rudolph’s first four interception game since his days playing on a school playground as he has never thrown four interceptions in a game even dating back as far back as his college career. Rudolph’s 36.3 passer rating was one of the lowest passer ratings in Thursday Night Football history as only 12 quarterbacks have compiled a lower passer rating (min 20 attempts). Though to be fair, Rudolph did not have a lot of help as he was without the likes of his top running back and top two receivers. He will now have ten days to put this performance behind him and hopefully rebound against the Cincinnati Bengals.
DE Cameron Heyward – Stock Up
Cameron Heyward has been a constant bright spot this season and it was much more of the same against the Browns on Thursday night. The veteran defensive lineman recorded six tackles, one tackle for a loss and one quarterback hit. There was also a pass bat down though it is not officially recorded due to the bat down being caught. Hard to name a better all around 3-4 defensive end than Heyward as he proven capable of defending the run, getting after the quarterback and knocking down pass attempts.
LB Mark Barron – Stock Down
Thursday’s game featured a bit of it all, there was some good, there was some bad and then there was Barron. After recording ten tackles against his former team last week, it was back to the usual with Mark Barron as he struggled in all phases of the game. The biggest problem is that Barron has literally turned his back on the defense, as two or three times the linebacker was caught with his back to the ball. One of those occasions resulted in the Browns’ game sealing touchdown with Baker Mayfield fitting a pass to Stephen Carlson while Barron was in coverage. Barron is surely making the Steelers wonder just how low he can go as his play has been a constant issue this season.
WR Tevin Jones – Stock Up
It’s never a good sign when praise, a minor one at that, is being sung for a team’s fifth string receiver. Making his NFL debut, Tevin Jones recorded two catches for 24 yards on Thursday night. With the majority of the offense sidelined with injuries, Jones proved that he could run and catch a football, which is pretty much all the Steelers can ask for right now. With JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson’s futures both murky due to the injuries they suffered against the Browns, Jones could see a lot more time in this offense moving forward.
WR Johnny Holton – Stock Down
Some say that Rudolph is still out on the field at First Energy Stadium tossing up deep balls to Johnny Holton. In all seriousness though, Holton’s efforts as this team’s deep threat this season have been almost comical. Thursday was the peak of the Holton experiment as he was targeted seven times and came down with just one catch which was also his first catch of the season. Holton has now caught just one pass from his 13 targets this season which equates to a catch percentage of 7.7-percent.
T.J. Watt – Stock Up
T.J. Watt is on a roll!
Seven straight games with at least half a sack now for the Steelers outside linebacker and there looks to be no end in sight. Watt has now compiled 9.5 sacks over his last seven games and is three games away from tying LaMarr Woodley for the franchise record for most consecutive games with at least half a sack. Watt has also set the franchise record for most sacks through the first three seasons of one’s career. With six more games to go the third-year linebacker will now have the chance to pile on to his lead as he progresses into one of the league’s most marquee pass rushers.