Week 15 of the 2019 regular season is a week the Pittsburgh Steelers would really like to forget. After winning three games in a row, the visiting Buffalo Bills defense put the clamps on the Steelers’ offense in a 17-10 victory.
Oh, but there is more to the story than just the final score.
The Steelers turned the ball over 5 times in the game, and if all the fumbles they had were recovered by Buffalo that number could have been as high as 9 turnovers. Devlin Hodges threw four interceptions, and a Diontae Johnson fumble came at a back-breaking moment in the game — the play after a Steven Nelson interception and return put the offense in the red-zone.
It was that kind of night for the Steelers, but not everything was negative. Some might say the defense played well enough to win, all things considered. This is where the fine folks at PFF come in a provide their own recap of sorts, pointing out individuals who played well, and some who left a lot be desired.
Check out what they had to say:
In a tight game, the one thing Devlin Hodges could not afford to do was turn the ball over. However, Hodges fumbled once (luckily to be recovered by his own team) and he threw four interceptions, the second of which he left high and inside for Tre’Davious White to pick it off and nearly take it for a pick-six. The last two interceptions were Hodges trying to make a play to bring back the Steelers at the end of the game.
Diontae Johnson had five catches for 62 yards. However, the most significant plays involving Johnson were the two fumbles. Johnson had the ball knocked out of his hands twice, and one of those fumbles happened inside the red zone.
Cameron Heyward was a force both against the run and as a pass-rusher. Heyward shed blocks all night long and he pretty much had his way whenever he was left one-on-one, especially when Buffalo decided to match him up against a tight end on the edge.
In addition to Heyward, the Steelers got good performances across their defensive line. Tyson Alualu had a tremendous game in run defense, as did T.J. Watt — which was highlighted by a play where he chased down Devin Singletary from behind to punch the ball out for a fumble — and Dan McCullers and Javon Hargrave both turned in respectable performances, as well.
It was good to see PFF give Heyward some credit, considering he was a one man wrecking crew for the entire game. Who might have gone unnoticed was the play of Tyson Alualu, and shockingly Daniel McCullers. McCullers played more snaps considering the Steelers chose to dress 5 running backs, and having reserve defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs inactive for the contest.
Hodges’ criticism was certainly warranted, and so was Diontae Johnson’s. Johnson is turning into an electrifying player. Someone who can make the big play every time they touch the football. However, he better learn some ball security in the coming months/years or his NFL career will be short-lived.
Was there a player who played great, and didn’t get the recognition, or maybe another player who was well below “the standard” and deserves to be highlighted? Let us know what you think in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes as the team prepares for the New York Jets in Week 16.