The Pittsburgh Steelers dropped their second game in a row, their only two of the season. This time, to the Buffalo Bills in disappointing fashion in front of a national audience. The Steelers defense was the tale of two halves, as they stifled the Buffalo offense allowing just 3 offensive points in the first half, but allowed 16 in the second. The offense never quite found a rhythm, outside of a drive or two in the second half.
Here is the week 14 Steelers stock report:
WR James Washington – Stock Up
Trust is currently at a premium in the Steelers offense after a barrage of drops the last few games of the season. James Washington has been one of the only receivers that Ben Roethlisberger can trust. James Washington took advantage of Diontae Johnson’s benching and made another big play for the third game in a row. This time, to give the Steelers the lead in the first half on a nice skinny post route.
That makes three weeks in a row where James Washington has stepped up to make a big play on an offense lacking splash.
WR Diontae Johnson – Stock Down
Diontae Johnson’s stock has officially bottomed out, or hopefully so. He was benched after a pair of drops, raising his total to eight in the last three games. We may have seen his stock bounce off the bottom and head for a “v” shaped recovery, as he returned in the second half and provided a spark to the offense. When he is playing well, he provides an extra dimension that the offense needs, so let’s hope the benching was the wakeup call he needed.
ILB Marcus Allen – Stock Up
Marcus Allen was filling in for the injured Robert Spillane (IR) and sickly Vince Williams (Reserve/COVID) opposite Avery Williams. Marcus Allen jumped out at times on the TV tape, flying into the flat to limit yards after the catch on multiple occasions. He allowed just 8 yards on the only two targets his way and Mike Tomlin lauded his efforts as the next man up in his Tuesday press conference.
RB James Conner – Stock Down
James Conner had his lowest yard total when having over 10 carries in a game. He only mustered 18 yards on the ground. You can hardly blame Conner, as the offensive line has struggled mightily in their run blocking. Basically every run, something goes catastrophically wrong and Conner is met in the backfield. He has been held to under 50 rushing yards in five games this season when he played the whole game. He also had a fumble in the game that Juju Smith-Schuster bailed him out on by recovering.
NT Tyson Alualu – Stock Up
Tyson Alualu has played impressive football, dating back to last year when Stephon Tuitt was out for the season with an injury. The position switch to nose tackle has suited him well as he was the Steelers’ highest rated defender by Pro Football Focus in week 14 with an 89.6 overall rating, including a 92.2 pass rushing grade. Alualu was able to register two pressures including a strip sack in the second quarter. He is having the best year of his career on a per snap basis.
QB Ben Roethlisberger – Stock Down
Ben Roethlisberger has had a rough stretch, there is no way around it. Are his weapons helping him with all of the drops? No, not at all, however Ben has been inaccurate with the deep ball which has caused it to virtually disappear from the offense. If the offense can’t run, it puts a lot of pressure on Ben, and he is not getting the job done. Mike Tomlin himself sited the interception return for a touchdown “the significant play” of the game.
Earlier in the season, it was easy to dismiss the deep ball trouble as Roethlisberger shaking off the rust, but now it is hard to envision a sudden resurgence.