On Wednesday of last week, I did a broad charting and contextualization of all the drops the Pittsburgh Steelers had during the 2020 season, and there were a lot of them. Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson obviously had the most not only when it came to the team, but the league as well. On the heels of that full contextualization of the Steelers 2020 drops, I thought now would be a great time to look at Johnson’s drops specifically to see if we could find anything. Doing this will provide a chance for all to be more objective when it comes to stat that is very subjective.
This series, of which this post is the second part, should include three parts in total with there being so many drops to look at. Let it be known that I am referencing the drop stats from both Pro Football Focus and Sports Info Solutions, and you might be surprised to know that both didn’t agree on a few of these supposed drops we’ll be reviewing in this series.
#8 – Week 12 Versus Baltimore Ravens – 2Q – 11:55 – 3rd & 7 – BAL 7 – Ben Roethlisberger pass incomplete short left intended for Diontae Johnson
I think most everyone will agree that this pass to Johnson against the Ravens in Week 12 should have been caught. It’s yet another quick slant and Johnson had plenty of separation on the route. The pass from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was thrown just a tad lower than it likely should have been, but it is still well within what should be Johnson’s catch radius. It does look like Johnson looked away from the football just milliseconds before it arrived in his arms.
#9 – Week 12 Versus Baltimore Ravens – 4Q – 3:41 – 3rd & 5 – PIT 35 – Ben Roethlisberger pass incomplete short left intended for Diontae Johnson
This second charged drop to Johnson in the Steelers Week 12 game against the Ravens came on a slot fade route down the left side of the field. Roethlisberger dropped this pass right into the bucket to Johnson, who sort of short-armed it will seemingly peaking at the last second to see if he was about to get hit. This has to go into the books as a drop
#10 – Week 13 Versus Washington Football Team – 2Q – 14:16 – 2nd & 12 – MID 50 – Ben Roethlisberger pass incomplete short right intended for Diontae Johnson
This next charged drop to Johnson was his first of three in the Week 13 game against the Washington Football Team. Just a quick and short dig route to Johnson and while the pass from Roethlisberger may have been a teeny-tad higher than the wide receiver expected it to be, it still should have been caught just the same.
#11 – Week 13 Versus Washington Football Team – 3Q – 5:59 – 3rd & 13 – PIT 28 – Ben Roethlisberger pass incomplete short left intended for Diontae Johnson
This next supposed drop by Johnson also came against Washington and it’s yet another short dig route from right to left with this one coming with the wide receiver surrounded by three Washington defensive players. The pass is just ever so slightly behind Johnson, who still manages to get both hands on the football. There is no excuse for this drop.
#12 – Week 13 Versus Washington Football Team – 3rd – 1:44 – 1 & 10 – WAS 47 – Ben Roethlisberger pass incomplete short middle intended for Diontae Johnson
The third and final drop Johnson supposedly has against Washington came on a drag route and once again, with him working right to left. You can instantly tell by Johnson’s reaction that he should have caught the short pass from Roethlisberger. The closest defender to him was about 2.5 yards away and Johnson was running away from that player on the route.
#13 – Week 14 Versus Buffalo Bills – 1Q – 14:55 – 1st & 10 – PIT 19 – Ben Roethlisberger pass incomplete short left intended for Diontae Johnson
In Week 14 against the Buffalo Bills, the Steelers wanted to get Johnson going early in the game with a quick wide receiver to him on the left side to start of the teams first offensive possession. It looks like Johnson tried to take a quick peek up the field before securing the football. The ball went right between his hands for a drop that doesn’t need too much more analysis. Lack of focus and that’s it.
#14 – Week 14 Versus Buffalo Bills – 1Q – 10:44 – 3rd & 3 – JAX 27 – Ben Roethlisberger pass incomplete short left intended for Diontae Johnson
The second drop that Johnson had in Week 14 against the Bills ultimately resulted in him being benched for rough a quarter. This drag route included Johnson working left to right and with a defender several yards away from him as the pass arrived from Roethlisberger. The ball hits Johnson right in the hands and he looks up and away just as the pass arrives. As he is attempting to secure the football, it squirts right out of his hands for a drop.
Summary: Now it is time for you all to react to these seven supposed drops by Johnson through Weeks 12-14 of the NFL season. How many of them are legitimate drops? How many does Roethlisberger deserve the blame on, if any at all?