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”.
Remember when everyone was asking if Roethlisberger “still had it?” Those were the days...in the meantime, Roethlisberger just threw for 500 yards against the Ravens, his third time going over 500 in his career, and diced up a very good defense. Yeah, Ben still has “it”.
It’s been said a million times, but the Ben-to-Brown connection is insane. But this year is different—they aren’t doing it on scramble plays. No, they’re dissecting defenses with their precision. It’s a pleasure to watch as Brown is now on pace to go over 1,800 yards for the season.
His numbers weren’t the best on the ground (13 carries for 48 yards and 2 TDS), his 9 catches for 77 yards and a TD are what separates Bell from the other running backs in the league. His ability to still be a huge part of the team when the approach is all passing is a tremendous advantage for the offense.
Boswell has been a member of the ‘Killer B’s’ for a while now, but Brown made it official after the game. Boswell is money in the bank, and if it weren’t for Justin Tucker being from another planet, Boswell would be a Pro Bowler.
All of the Steelers tight ends played well Sunday night, but Jesse James really stepped up his game. James’ 10 catches for 97 yards was outstanding in every way, and when the Ravens left him alone, he made them pay for it. Great game for “The Outlaw”.
When you throw the ball 60+ times, you’re bound to have a few gaffes along the offensive line. However, the team surrendered just three sacks, and on at least two of those, Roethlisberger should have thrown the football away. The offensive line is playing well, especially in pass protection, but their ability to pave the way for Bell and protect Big Ben has been huge.
There aren’t a lot of winners on the defense when you surrender 38 points, but if there was one, it would be Watt. He had four total tackles, three quarterback hits and the game-clinching sack/fumble to seal the game for the Steelers. At this point in the season, Watt doesn’t look like a rookie, and that’s a good thing.
Not sure any player had a worse game than Sean Davis. A second year player is bound to make mistakes, but Davis’ were back-breakers. Two personal fouls and tons of missed tackles—while Davis still led the team in tackles (12 total) he left a lot of plays on the field. If this secondary wants to get back to where it was earlier this season, it could start with players like Davis simply doing their jobs.
If missed tackles were an official stat, the Steelers might lead the league in this category. Just plain awful. My youth coach used to say, “Tackling is a want-to thing.” I still believe this is true, and another truth is the Steelers clearly don’t “want to” tackle.
The officiating was awful, but more on that later. The Steelers were penalized six times for 100 yards, and Super Bowl-winning teams—this team’s ultimate goal—don’t go very far with that kind of undisciplined play.
Walt Coleman’s Officiating Crew
It might be time for Walt Coleman, and his crew, to move on to “their life’s work”, as Chuck Noll would say. The botched calls are always there every week, but when it starts to get in the way, like it did in Week 14, that’s when the NFL has to be embarrassed about their officiating. I’m not one to shine the light on poor calls, but some of these were downright awful.