Winners and losers from the Pittsburgh Steelers’ wild, Week 7 27-24 win over the Tennessee Titans.
JuJu Smith-Schuster: Had a feeling Smith-Schuster would have a decent game today. He was used like a TE or RB, a safety valve for Ben Roethlisberger. But he was clutch, kept the chains moving, and was one of his QB’s favorite targets on third down.
Third Down Offense: Speaking of which, an area this team did very well. Red hot to begin the game going 7/7, they finished the day 13/18. The last third down play, Ben Roethlisberger’s pick, was a dubious end but overall, this was a driving force behind the team’s first-half offensive success.
Ray-Ray McCloud: McCloud has been an electric special teamer this season and continued things today with a 57 yard punt return. Probably could’ve scored on the play but cut back the wrong way. Steelers still wound up finding the end zone on the drive.
Diontae Johnson: Johnson had a possible drop on a free-play in the first half, the CB made a good play on the ball, but his two touchdowns get him on the list. Hard to tackle in space, Tennessee paid the price for playing off coverage against him. Though his hands are occasionally suspect, he’s also capable of adjusting to throws off the mark as he and Ben Roethlisberger continue to build chemistry.
Terrell Edmunds: Edmunds’ play has continued to improve. Season by season. Week by week. He’s still in search of a splash play but has played consistent, steady defense otherwise. Solid run defender and making more plays in coverage. That was clear on the Titans’ first drive of the second half. Edmunds had a run stop on Henry and broke up a third down throw to get the defense off the field.
Cam Sutton: Filled in admirably for Mike Hilton. Very good in coverage and his tackling has done a 180 in a positive direction since the start of 2019. He was the team’s best cornerback today. Arguably the best DB on the field.
Chukwuma Okorafor: Okorafor held up well enough against the below average Titans’ pass rush but was called for two penalties on the first drive of the game, wiping out a James Conner TD. The Steelers would score later in the possession, Roethlisberger finding Johnson, but it wasn’t a good look for Okorafor for some unnecessary plays.
Minkah Fitzpatrick: Fitzpatrick wasn’t the cleanest tackler and took a pitiful angle on AJ Brown’s 73 yard touchdown. Gave him the open space to race into the end zone. On the losers list one week after his big game against Cleveland.
End Of Half Decision: With 11 seconds left on the Titans’ 37, Roethlisberger heaved a prayer in the end zone for Diontae Johnson. It was picked, squashing any chance the Steelers had of getting points before the half after the Titans’ muffed punt attempt. No timeouts made life hard – Eric Ebron’s false start made things harder – but don’t like that decision for a Hail Mary when you could’ve gotten 5-6 yards and tried a long field goal.
Ben Roethlisberger: After the first half, Roethlisberger was squarely on the winners list. What a fall from grace. Roethlisberger came into the day with one INT. He exited with four, throwing three against the Titans. One came at the end of the half, a bad decision as alluded to above. Another came off a tipped pass, no 6’5 QB should have as many batted balls as Roethlisberger has had, with the third being the worst, a forced pass on 3rd and 12 with the Steelers in field goal range up three.
CBS Feed: Not cool, CBS. Losing the feed with five minutes to go. As if Steelers’ fans blood pressure wasn’t already high enough.