It’s always easy to talk about what you’re going to do than it is to actually go out there and do it. Among professional athletes, there’s always a lot of talk and boasting and things of that nature, but it’s perhaps the easiest profession to have your words come back and bite you when you don’t actually back up your words.
I admit I’m not a big social media user and don’t go out of my way to follow a bunch of players and this and that, so I really don’t know how big of a ‘talker’ second-year wide receiver Diontae Johnson might be, but I do know that whatever talking he might have done hadn’t really been backed up lately by his on-field play. After all, he got benched a couple of games ago.
But he has played well since the second half of that game in which he was benched. He has scored touchdowns now in consecutive weeks, and today went 8-for-75, including a 39-yard touchdown that helped ignite a comeback of improbable proportions.
“It all really plays down to just going out there and making plays at the end of the day”, Johnson told reporters after the game. “When you’re down and you’re doing all that talking and saying what you’re going to do and then you go out there and you don’t do it, it shows that you’re not really locked in, you’re not really about what you say you’re going to be about. So, it all really came out of that. Stop talking and just go out there and play, and we showed in the second half what we’re capable of and we can put points on the board”.
The Steelers scored three touchdowns in a span of under 11 minutes in the second half, enough to manage a 28-24 victory over a very good and a hot Indianapolis Colts team. Eric Ebron and JuJu Smith-Schuster were the recipients of Ben Roethlisberger’s other two touchdown passes, of which he now has 33 on the season, one shy of his own franchise record.
This was Johnson’s seventh game of the year in which he gained at least 70 yards through the air, out of 14 games for which he was dressed, and out of 12 in which he received significant playing time. He was limited to just one catch over a two-game span due to injuries that saw him play just a combined 25 snaps.
With one game left to play, he now has 828 yards in his second season, with 85 receptions, and he just secured his seventh touchdown pass of the season. The young man has his flaws—and the drops this year have been a huge one—but there are days like today when he flashes his talent and reminds you that you can’t keep him off the field for long.