In spite of all the scoring success that the Pittsburgh Steelers have had so far this season—they came into Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals ranked fourth in the league in points per game, and had scored at least 24 points each week—one thing that they have mysteriously lacked has been big individual games from receivers.
Prior to this game, the Steelers had just one 100-yard receiving game from anybody on the roster, and that came from second-round rookie wide receiver Chase Claypool, who caught seven passes for 110 yards and three receiving touchdowns in week five against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Before the game, I made my Buy or Sell topic whether or not the Steelers would get their second 100-yard receiving game of the season. Second-year wide receiver Diontae Johnson decided by the end of the first half that he would be buying, recording the first 100-yard receiving game of his career.
While they were unable to finish the drive and had to settle for a third field goal attempt toward the end of the first half, Johnson caught two passes on that drive for 35 yards, which gave him 116 receiving yards on the day on six receptions, including one touchdown.
This was building off of a strong game last week in which he caught six passes for 77 yards, including a key 42-yard catch-and-run late in the game on the go-ahead drive, which was his longest reception of the season before the 46-yarder that he had in the first half.
While he only missed one game earlier this season, Johnson also missed extended time in two other games. Over that three-game stretch, he caught one pass for minus-two yards, so he is sort of playing catch-up in recent weeks with regards to his season-long production. Having your first 100-yard game will help with that.
Johnson wouldn’t even catch another pass in the game after the first half, but really, that’s all that the Steelers needed, as the defense limited the Bengals to just a field goal in the final 30 minutes, with Roethlisberger adding a couple more touchdown passes to Claypool by the time the game was over for good measure.
Roethlisberger threw for a season-high 333 yards, in fact, just the third time this season (though twice in as many weeks) as he has managed to top that number. That helped Smith-Schuster out to a nine-catch, 77-yard day, with Claypool contributing 56 yards on four catches, two, of which were scores.