After each game, there are some players who impress and others who disappoint. This is where our weekly Winners and Losers column was born. Sometimes being labeled a loser is a bit harsh, but invariably there are players in each game who simply don’t measure up to “the standard”.
McDonald has battle both ankle and shoulder injuries this season, but he has gone from a “wasted” trade to a player who brings a new dynamic punch to an already potent offense. McDonald finished with 4 catches for 52-yards, but is becoming a very nice target for Roethlisberger in this offense which continues to develop into the hype machine we all thought it would be.
Welcome back, Joe!! Haden didn’t just come back, but the Steelers had him shadow Deandre Hopkins the entire game, something they haven’t done yet this season. Coming off a fractured leg, Haden did more than hold his own. How big of a difference is Haden? With him, this secondary has the look of the No. 2 pass defense it once was, without him...well, let’s not talk about that right now.
Roethlisberger didn’t light up the score sheet, but it has been fun watching No. 7 just distribute the football to those who are open. Without Antonio Brown, Roethlisberger connected on passed to 6 different receivers, including a touchdown pass to Justin Hunter, of all people. If Roethlisberger continues to see the field as well as he has been, watch out NFL.
What a diamond in the rough this guy has been. Picked up off the scrap heap, Hilton has come in and been a difference maker from Day 1, literally. He works hard, and is tenacious on the field. All the more reason to love ‘Big Mike’ and to celebrate his 3-sack day against the Texans.
So, you are pissed about not being selected to the Pro Bowl. What do you do? How about go into a Christmas day game and leave with 4 tackles, 3 solo, 2 sacks, 2 tackles for a loss and 3 quarterback hits. Heyward now has 12 sacks on the season heading into the game vs. the Browns in Week 17. This isn’t a fluke. Heyward is having not just a Pro Bowl year, but an All-Pro year.
There weren’t many losers on Christmas day, which is a nice change of pace, but the Steelers’ rush defense is becoming a major problem. In the team’s losses this season he one constant has been their inability to consistently stop the run. They allowed the Texans’ no-name cast of characters to rush for 176-yards. That just isn’t going to cut it.