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6 Winners and 3 Losers after the Steelers 26-24 win over the Colts in Week 9

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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.

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers were back on the field Sunday when they hosted the Indianapolis Colts in Week 9 of the regular season. After the huge AFC showdown at Heinz Field 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 9...

Winners

Minkah Fitzpatrick
Stat Line: 7 tackles, 4 solo, 1 INT returned 96 yards for a TD

The Pittsburgh Steelers were in desperate need of a play, and they got it from the man they gave up a 2020 1st round pick for in the NFL Draft. Minkah Fitzpatrick jumped a Brian Hoyer pass and was off to the races as he scampered 96 yards for the touchdown. A game-changing play, and one that continues to validate the team’s decision to trade a lofty commodity to the Dolphins for Fitzpatrick.

James Washington
Stat Line: 4 receptions, 69 yards

Washington didn’t lead the team in receptions or yards, but he made the most of his opportunities. He made two terrific catches on third down, and a 40 yard catch down the field in the third quarter. This was the first time in his young NFL career where we got a glimpse of the player fans see in the preseason, only when the games actually count. If Washington can keep this up it will be a huge boost for a struggling offense.

Bud Dupree
Stat Line: 3 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 TFL, 3 QB Hits

I used to call Bud Dupree “dud” on our podcasts, but after his performance against the Colts’ stellar offensive line I have changed it to “stud”. Dupree is having a career year in almost every department, and while the sacks were nice, his play in run defense has been equally, if not more, impressive. It was Dupree who knifed through the line on 3rd down on the Colts’ final drive which stopped Marlon Mack for a loss and resulted in an field goal attempt. Dupree is earning his money.

Chris Boswell
Stat Line: 4/4 Field Goals, 2/2 XP

It took me a while, but I am finally starting to get comfortable with Boswell kicking again. Up until recently I still watched as Boswell kicked waiting for the miss. The straw that broke the camel’s back. But Boswell has been money again, looking more like 2017 Boswell, and his 51 yard field goal to end the first half was his best kick in a long time.

Trey Edmunds
Stat Line: 12 carries, 73 yards

Edmunds was aided by a 45 yard gallop, but for a player seeing his first extended reps as of the season, Edmunds acclimated himself nicely. A one-cut, downhill style runner, Edmunds seems to be the perfect compliment to Jaylen Samuels, but also the type of runner who works well with the offensive line. Edmunds showed enough that if the Steelers need to have him as the primary backup for another week they will be okay.

T.J. Watt
Stat Line: 3 tackels, 1.5 sacks, 1.5 TFL, 3 QB Hits

What else is there to say about Watt that hasn’t already been said? Well on his way to double-digit sacks for a second straight season, Watt and Dupree are developing into one of the top OLB/pass rush tandems in the NFL.



Losers

Mike Tomlin
Stat Line: 0-for-2 Challenges

Tomlin’s second challenge was by far the worst, and the one I am focusing on in this loser column. The first challenge, the big play where Steven Nelson was flagged, was a challenge you had to make. Such a big play and such a critical situation. But the second challenge was the one where it hurt to lose the timeout. There just wasn’t a need for it. Tomlin isn’t good at challenges, this is well documented, but the second challenge might have been one of the worst in recent memory.

Red Zone Offense
Stat Line: 1-of-4 in RZ trips

The Steelers’ offense is making strides. Jordan Berry only punted once, not counting the free kick after the safety, but the offense is stalling in the red-zone. This is the next step for Randy Fichtner’s offense, and one which better start improving if they are going to beat a team like the Rams in Week 10.

JuJu Smith-Schuster
Stat Line: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 16 yards, drop resulted in an INT

I hate putting JuJu in this category, but when receptions are hard to come by you have to make the most of your opportunities. Smith-Schuster didn’t do that on Sunday dropping two passes, one which resulted in an interception. The other was a tough sideline catch, but a play big-time receivers make. Smith-Schuster is struggling, but if he can take care of the passes thrown his way, that are able to be caught, the offense should be just fine.