So many Steelers defenders had themselves a game Sunday against the Bengals. Alex Highsmith broke out for three sacks. T.J. Watt was his usual game-wrecker self against the run and as a pass rusher. Minkah Fitzpatrick had likely his best game of his NFL career thanks to his heroics from beginning to end.
However, one player that may get looked over despite his impact is DB Arthur Maulet, who made a big impact as a run defender as well as a blitzer in Cincinnati last Sunday.
“I think that’s one thing that Arthur Maulet does well,” DC Teryl Austin said about Maulet as a blitzer prior to Thursday’s practice to the media on video from Chris Adamski’s Twitter page. “He’s a tough guy, he’s a feisty guy, and he’s a really good blitzer. He did a good job for us. He had a couple in there where he came and had an opportunity to get two sacks really but came away with one and the strip and that was really good and needed at the time.”
Maulet came up big last week against the Bengals, being thrust into a bigger role in the slot when Levi Wallace went down to injury, which pushed Cam Sutton from the slot to the outside. Maulet ended up playing 60 defensive snaps and another eight on special teams, and finished the game with three total tackles (all solo), one PBU, and the sack forced fumble mentioned above by Austin, which came on third down in overtime with Cincinnati inside Steelers’ territory.
Maulet has been touted as more of a run support defensive back, having the aggressive demeanor and willingness to throw himself downhill into the fray and blow up plays on the edges and in the backfield. He finished with five TFLs last season along with two QB hits, but managed to get home for the first time in a Steelers’ uniform against the Bengals in Week 1. Mike Tomlin touted Maulet as “linebacker-like” in the role that he plays in Pittsburgh’s defense, being that run support nickel defender build that plays a similar style of game that Mike Hilton used to during his time in the Black and Gold.
While Maulet may not be the most well-versed coverage defender in the secondary, the role he plays as a run defender and blitzer from the slot undoubtedly made a difference Sunday against the Bengals in Pittsburgh’s efforts to contain Joe Mixon and put pressure on Joe Burrow. Maulet will look to continue making an impact in Pittsburgh’s defense going forward, and may see more time this week if Wallace is at all hampered coming back from his injured ankle.