After a game there are players who impress, and some who disappoint. This is where our weekly “Winners and Losers” column was born. Sometimes being labeled a loser is a bit harsh, but ultimately there are players every game who simply aren’t up to “the standard”.
You can’t expect Bryant to step onto the field and be the dynamic force he was in 2015, but Sunday’s performance was as close to that player as we’ve seen since his return. Bryant was able to get vertical to make big plays, draw pass interference calls, but also make some catches in traffic. Great to see Bryant show up in a big way on a day the Steelers needed every one of them.
I can’t say how awesome it is to see Hilton not just playing, but playing well. From training camp, and preseason, phenom to a regular on the Steelers’ defense, Hilton led the team with 9 tackles, 6 solo, and one quarterback hit. Hilton, who played his college football with Senquez Golson, looks like he is doing all the things his former teammate was supposed to do.
Heyward is back, and if you didn’t see his stellar play last week, you had to notice Sunday as Heyward essentially took residence in the Minnesota backfield. Heyward finished with six tackles, one for a loss, and a quarterback hit, but those statistics don’t show just how awesome he was vs. the Vikings.
It isn’t always pretty with JuJu Smith-Schuster, but his first NFL catch was a touchdown on a shovel pass screen from Ben Roethlisberger. If that wasn’t enough to earn him a spot on the Winners list, the Hines Ward-esque block he had to spring Le’Veon Bell certainly was. The kid can play, just needs to figure things out.
Steelers Pass Rush
The Steelers only had two sacks on Case Keenum, but they harassed him more often than they didn’t. Keenum made some great throws, often in the face of adversity, and kudos to him for that. However, the Steelers were able to get 7 quarterback hits on Keenum and countless hurries. Haven’t noticed the team’s secondary much through two weeks have you? Not really, and that is because of the pass rush.
I hate singling out a player like Davis, but this wasn’t his best coverage game of his young career. Sometimes you forget Davis is just a second year player, but he will be able to learn from this effort and be better for it. Davis, who did have 8 tackles on the day, was beaten in coverage, and had several blown coverages, throughout the day.
3rd Down Offense
This losing statistic can be summed up by the following:
- The Steelers were 3-13 on third downs in Week 2
- The Steelers are 8-26 on third downs in the first two weeks of the season.
That is more than not good enough, it is borderline pathetic.
For the second week in a row, the Steelers penalty totals hit double-digits. The team was flagged 10 times for 72 yards. There weren’t as many 15-yard varieties compared to last week, but this is a trend the team needs to nip right away.