The Pittsburgh Steelers won their first game of 2015 in dominating fashion Sunday with a 43-18 victory over the San Francisco 49ers. As always, there were players who played well, and those who struggled. It might be difficult to find, but there were players dubbed 'losers' following the game at Heinz Field, and plenty of those who were labeled 'winners'.
Take a look at some individual accolades for the team as they advance their record to 1-1.
Antonio Brown - Brown became the 3rd fastest player in NFL history to record 400 catches in his career today when he caught nine passes for 195 yards, touchdown and a two point conversion. He also set an NFL record with his 12th straight NFL game with seven or more receptions. But forget about his milestones, he was unstoppable yet again against the 49ers' secondary. He had several big plays where he easily got behind his defender and looked untouchable. One play he caught a pass and used a juke move to force all three 49ers who were in front of him. There is not a person in the NFL that can stop this man.
Ryan Shazier - Pittsburgh's first round draft pick from 2014 paid dividends today. He recorded 15 total tackles, 11 solo, three for a loss, a sack, a forced fumble and a recovered fumble. Were it not for super performances from Ben Roethlisberger, Brown and DeAngelo Williams, he would be player of the game. He stayed on his keys, made plays against the run, contained Colin Kaepernick and brought the big hits. If he remains healthy this season, he may be a key point for a new surge in Steelers defense.
Ben Roethlisberger - I feel like saying Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown are winners is redundant because it happens so often, but it's worth noting. Roethlisberger went 21/27 for 369 yards for three touchdowns and no interceptions to have a 155.8 passer rating. He was never sacked and almost every pass he threw was on the money.
DeAngelo Williams - 20 carries for 77 yards and three touchdown, tying a franchise single-game record, was a very solid day for Williams on his last start before Le'Veon Bell returns from his suspension in week three against the St. Louis Rams. Though he didn't break big runs off, he ran hard and hit his holes especially in the red zone.
Darrius Heyward-Bey - with seven catches for 44 yards and a touchdown, Heyward-Bey looked like a very solid option as a third receiver while the Steelers wait for the return of Martavis Bryant. Performances like these will keep Heyward-Bey in the receiving rotation for more snaps as the season rolls along and further delay the arrival of Sammie Coates to the Steelers' offense.
Note: We could go on for another eight paragraphs of winners because the Steelers dominated today, but we'll cover that in the wrap-up.
Josh Scobee - Scobee missed an extra point after a week where he missed two field goals, further decreasing what little reliability Pittsburgh could have in him. It's a big question now as to whether or not the Steelers should be in the market for another kicker for if the team should ever need a clutch field goal. Questionable at best.
Cortez Allen - Whether Allen was a healthy scratch or an withheld from the active roster due to injury, the success of the defense in his absence is a very bad sign for his future. Ross Cockrell made solid tackles, Brandon Boykin had a crucial pass defense and Antwon Blake had multiple big hits in the secondary. The Steelers did not look like they were missing anything with Allen not being out there, and that could be a big problem with him trying to develop himself in this defense.
You could honestly say that Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Bud Dupree, the entire offensive line, Keith Butler, Todd Haley, Mike Tomlin and even the Steelers' ball boy were winners today. They dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and looked like their offense could only be stopped by their own mistakes. Kevin Colbert's heavy investment into the front seven over the years seems to be paying off right now and could be creating a new era of positivity for the Pittsburgh Steelers.