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8 Winners and 2 Losers after the Steelers 16-10 win over the Bengals in Week 12

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After every game there are players who play well, and those who don’t. This is where the ‘Winners and Losers’ column comes from.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers were back on the field Monday night when they hosted the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 12 of the regular season. After the AFC North divisional game on Sunday, it is time to see who performed well, and who left a lot to be desired.

Improvement was evident in some ways, and hopefully will continue, but the judgement process must go on. Players who play well can be considered ‘Winners’, while those who left plays on the field can be deemed ‘Losers’. It may sound harsh, but it is the crux of this exercise.

Let’s check in to see who fell on which side of the ledger after Week 12...

Winners

T.J. Watt
Stat Line: 2 tackles, 2 solo, 1 sacks, 2 TFL, 1 pass defense, 1 forced fumble

It might be a good idea to start calling Watt ‘Superman’, because the dude does it all. He isn’t just relentless as a pass rusher, but is tremendous in run support too. He broke the double-digit sack plateau weeks ago, and now has his eyes set on the franchise record.

Devlin Hodges
Stat Line: 5/11, 118 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT

It wasn’t flashy, but Hodges came in cold and delivered a strike to James Washington which turned into a 79 yard touchdown. It was the only touchdown scored by the Steelers on the day, but it represented so much more. Hodges showed superior pocket presence, and the ability to escape the pocket and make plays if necessary. It looks like it it Duck season in Pittsburgh.

Devin Bush
Stat Line: 4 tackles, 3 solo, 1 QB hit, 1 force fumble

For me, the winners and losers list often boils down to when the plays happen, and not just the overall quantity of work. For a player like Devin Bush on Sunday, he didn’t make a ton of plays, but the one he did make was of the critical variety. With the Bengals driving, Bush came from behind and forced a Tyler Boyd fumble which was recovered by Minkah Fitzpatrick. The turnover turned the tide in the game, and ultimately resulted in the win.

Benny Snell
Stat Line: 21 carries, 98 yards, 4.7 yards per carry

It has been a while since a member of the Steelers running game had a stat line like Snell did in Week 12. He ran the ball hard, and showed decisiveness in his cuts. Snell has some work to do, especially in the lateral quickness category, but showed a lot of promise in his first real prominent role at the NFL level. James Conner shouldn’t be worried about his job, but having a proven player waiting in the wings is never a bad thing. Snell might be on his way to being just that.

Newcomers
Stat Line: Kerrith Whyte - 6 carries, 43 yards / Deon Cain - 1 catch, 35 yards

When an NFL team picks up a player off another team’s practice squad, you normally don’t think much will happen with that player. However, the way Whyte and Cain performed on Sunday might have Steelers fans rethinking this line of thinking. Whyte and Cain showed promise, and might be what the team needs, in terms of depth, down the stretch.

Bud Dupree
Stat Line: 2 tackles, 2 solo, 1 TFL, 1 QB hit, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery

The duo of Dupree and Watt is quickly becoming one of the best OLB pass rushing duos in the league. Period. While this is awesome for the Steelers, it also means they will have to pay Dupree, albeit in the form of a franchise tag or new contract, and he has earned it. Dupree might not be the same style of player like Watt, but he is coming into his own in a big way.

Chris Boswell/Jordan Berry
Stat Line: Chris Boswell - 3/3 FGs, 1/1 XP / Jordan Berry - 7 Punts, 45.1 average

The Steelers special teams units have been awesome this season, and that is both Chris Boswell and Jordan Berry. Both have been huge for the Steelers this season, and will need to be huge for this team to continue their winning ways down the stretch.

James Washington
Stat Line: 3 receptions, 98 yards, 1 TD

James Washington has been slowly proving himself as a big time receiver, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Washington’s performance could be just what the doctor ordered for the Steelers’ passing game, especially when JuJu Smith-Schuster returns to the lineup.


Losers

Mason Rudolph
Stat Line: 8/16, 85 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT

For the first time since taking over at QB, it became evident Mike Tomlin should make a change. When Rudolph delivered another 3-and-out to start the second half, Tomlin did what no one thought he would ever do — pulled Rudolph. Rudolph has regressed as an NFL starter, and you can only thank him for his efforts. At this point, it clear the Steelers should ride with Hodges, at least until he proves otherwise.

Mark Barron
Stat Line: 6 total tackles, 2 solo, 1.5 TFL, 1 sack, 4 QB hits

Looking at this stat line certainly doesn’t feel like a loser, but Barron has been a liability when on the field and not blitzing. Barron’s coverage skills have been an Achilles heel for the defense, and the play which epitomized this was when Barron was flagged for defensive holding, and pass interference, all in one play. The Steelers seem determined to keep Barron the field as much as possible, and I’m not sure why. His coverage skills, or lack thereof, combined with poor tackling has been a negative trend all season.