The Pittsburgh Steelers certainly have come a long way from the past three weeks, huh? Somehow, some way, the Steelers came out on top of the battle between Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger. It was the first time they have won against New England since 2011, and this team showed a lot of what we saw in the 6-game winning streak as well as the 3-game losing streak. It is tough to put a finger on what this team is, but they definitely have the potential to win it all, no matter what anyone says. This team can really beat anyone, and lose to anyone.
Thus, here are seven takeaways from the Steelers’ victory:
Jaylen Samuels is legit
It is only one game, but Samuels built off a strong second-half last week and parlayed into an impressive showing in Week 15. He had everything there but the consistent pass protection, where he whiffed pretty badly and caused Ben Roethlisberger to get sacked.
Big day for my man Jaylen Samuels. Not only did he show his ability to run downhill and really cut well, but his vision was great today. His contact balance was fantastic, and of course, the receiving ability was there too. Has to work on pass pro, but it'll come. #Steelers pic.twitter.com/nRVzPSsxyk— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) December 17, 2018
Last week Samuels had trouble with his vision and getting downhill, but with a superb performance from the Offensive Line and adjustments to his style, Samuels proved to be a decisive runner and popped off against the Steelers’ arch nemesis. His receiving game contributions have been huge, and even when James Conner comes back, this should be a dual-RB backfield.
I am looking forward to seeing it.
Morgan Burnett is a...disappointment
Morgan Burnett was signed this offseason to be a stabilizer in the back end of the defense, and overall, to bring a veteran presence that this team had not seen. However, he just has not been that this season.
Burnett has battled numerous injuries and even when he has played, it is clear Burnett’s athleticism is not what it once was. Can another offseason rejuvenate that? Possibly, but it would not be a shock to see Burnett get axed this offseason.
Regardless, he did make the pass breakup on the last play of the game, so I am here for more clutch moments like that from him.
T.J. Watt is a star
Four straight weeks of fantastic play from the youngest Watt brother and I want to keep seeing it. Watt’s progression has been a thing of beauty, and it is no surprise he has eclipsed over 10 sacks this season. The Steelers have themselves a keeper for sure.
Watt has developed great speed-to-bend and has learned to use his hands and turn that into leverage for a move. His rip and cross chop combination is coming along nicely, but he does need a counter move. Other than that, Watt has been nothing short of exceptional. And for that, you have to give one Joey Porter some props.
The real James Washington is here
He showed up, finally! Washington has had a rough go of things this season, but the past two weeks, since being called out by Ben Roethlisberger, Washington has had some beautiful plays. Last week, it was the lateral, now, it is this gorgeous contested catch he makes over Jason McCourty. This catch is nothing to slouch at either, to high point that over a great man coverage CB in McCourty is no simple feat.
Two plays later, Washington would break a huge catch after breaking a tackle. It seems the rookie, once left in the depths of despair, is finally coming around.
Artie Burns is gone
Artie Burns is done. Simple. Nothing else really needs to be said. He played for about seven snaps, got yanked for Coty Sensabaugh, who played much better, and was never seen. Tomlin and his staff have no confidence in him and he doesn’t have any in himself either.
I would be shocked to see Burns back in a Steelers jersey next season, and rightfully so. That being said, CB will be the No. 1 offseason need, but I have still been impressed by Sensabaugh. He is nothing special, but for a backup, he is more than capable.
Joe Haden is a Godsend
I know this seems rather obvious, and that we all kind of knew this before this game, but Joe Haden has just shown every week why he is so valuable to this team.
He has really manned the No. 1 assignments well, and this interception is why he is so valuable. Joe Haden has elite ball skills and no other Steelers DB has that, at all. If someone were going to make the INT, it would be Haden, and so, this play was absolutely huge. Thank goodness for Joe Haden.
Pittsburgh has the best OL in the NFL
The Steelers have the best Offensive Line coach in Mike Munchak and that reflects in their play. This team’s offensive line is ridiculously good. David DeCastro, Maurkice Pouncey, and Alejandro Villanueva are all playing at an all-pro level, and simply put, they deserve to be put on the list if they do in fact make it there. Ramon Foster is doing his thing, and I don’t care what anyone says, so be it that he doesn’t want a crazy amount of money, I want Ramon Foster back next year. Since Marcus Gilbert went down, Matt Feiler has filled in incredibly well. He has played at a pro bowl level, and I am here for him to be the Tackle of the future, especially if they wish to say goodbye to Marcus Gilbert.