Just like it sounds, and just like in previous weeks, here are five guys who I thought played a solid game despite not necessarily filling up the stat sheet during the Pittsburgh Steelers' 23-22 win last Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.
Larry Foote - with LaMarr Woodley out for much of the game, Lawrence Timmons was rotated over to outside linebacker for a number of snaps, which in turn freed up extra snaps for Foote. The veteran ILB recorded the only sack of the afternoon for the Steelers' defense, his first of the season. He also had four tackles, a season-high as well. Having Foote in the fold is going to pay even greater dividends later in the year as bodies continue to wear down.
Marukice Pouncey - actually, no offensive lineman really merits making the list this week, as I thought they were noticeably outplayed for the first time all year. But I'm including Pouncey anyway for one reason: Does anyone else remember Ben Roethlisberger's second fumble? Pouncey snared the ball in the air off-balance, then proceeded to steady and himself and try to run upfield for a potential first down. He was tripped up before he could really get going, but it was an amazing display of agility and athletic ability by the young rookie center.
Kickoff return coverage unit - No one player is deserving, but the whole group is. Emmanuel Sanders, Will Allen, Ryan Mundy, Ike Taylor, Keenan Lewis - all made tackles on kickoff coverage, but it was hardly just them who were responsible for limiting the Fins to just 18 yards per kickoff return. All 11 guys....well, all 10 since we know Jeff Reed doesn't much count....stormed down the field with reckless but controlled abandon. And in all fairness, Reed deserves kudos as well for banging another kickoff into the endzone for a touchback. Solid day for the special teams. Without their efforts, I'm not sure we sneak out of Miami with a fortunate win.
Mewelde Moore - props to the veteran third-down back for making a significant contribution in the Steelers' victory. Several of you have wondered how much utility Moore brings to the table given how solidly Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman have played. I suppose the bottom line is you can't have too many reliable, proven players in this league, and especially at running back. Moore, after being very quiet through the team's first five games, had 11 rushing yards on 4 carries, including a 16-yard scamper. His -8 yard loss on a busted reverse play erased most of his rushing output. Mooore was even more valuable in the passing game, where he finished with 4 receptions for 48 yards, highlighted by his clutch 28 yard catch and run late in the fourth quarter that set up the Steelers' game-winning field goal.
Ike Taylor - yes, the Dolphins had some success through the air, the third such week that an opposing quarterback has not been stymied by the Steelers' defense. But All Pro Brandon Marshall didn't have too big an impact on the game, all things considered. 5 catches for 57 yards with a long of just 19. If my calculations are correct, 43 of those 57 yards came in the first half. In the second half, Marshall was very quiet thanks to the solid play of Taylor. A job well done by 'Swaggin' against one of the game's very best.