Justin K. Aller
Plenty of winners, not many losers wearing the bumblebees in Pittsburgh's big win over Washington in Week 8.
Let's be honest, we could credit more than half the team as Winners in this game. We're going to try to highlight a few that perhaps we haven't, or some who recently redeemed themselves.
CB Keenan Lewis - Call them drops, that's fine, first, he challenge the multiple attempts thrown in his direction. Second, a few of those should be credited as passes defensed. This is a pass completions league. As people seem to think the Steelers dodged some kind of bullet because of Washington's dropsies, the fact is they still would have had to go down the field the hard way. That's what this defense is designed to do.
RB Jonathan "Spare Tire" Dwyer - The Tire was in again for multiple Steelers running backs, and offensive coordinator Todd Haley may have found his antithesis to the Run By Committee approach he was looking to employ behind Rashard Mendenhall. He went for 107 yards this game, giving him 229 yards in his last two games. That's more than the Steelers had in their previous four games combined.
Offensive Line - Left guard Willie Colon and right tackle Mike Adams were singled out in a postgame story Sunday, but it's unfair to only draw attention to them - although their contributions in relation to expectations were the highest on the team. It was the second consecutive outstanding performance by the team, and the night-and-day difference between the start of the season and the midpoint of the year is a huge story.
RT Mike Adams - Yes, that contradicts what I wrote above. I wanted it to stand out. In case anyone was wondering: Amount of times TE Heath Miller helped Adams pass protecting on the right side on the Steelers' first drive < 0.
WR Antonio Brown - If you want to backpedal into the end zone, fine, I accept the fact things like that are not only common in the league, but more or less encouraged by the league and its sponsors. But starting from the 25-yard line is not only a guaranteed penalty (I don't care if there was already a flag on the field), but it makes you look like a complete moron. Fortunately, it didn't look as stupid as the time you got stuck on a railing jumping into the crowd at the Georgia Dome after a touchdown. Unfortunately, though, that touchdown counted. Even without Curtis Brown's penalty (which was ticky-tack), this touchdown would have been negated because of it. At least Brown's was a competitive penalty - albeit a poor decision.
I really didn't see any others. Some will point to Curtis Brown, but I try to avoid grading these things on a curve. One penalty and one downed punt inside the one-yard line doesn't seem like it's enough to qualify for the Losers list.