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10 Winners and 0 Losers after the Steelers’ 26-14 win over the Browns in Week 17

Time to take a look at who would be considered a ‘Winner’ and a ‘Loser’ after the Steelers latest action on the gridiron.

Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers were back on the field Monday when they played the Cleveland Browns in Week 17 of regular season action. The Steelers were winners in the contest, but that doesn’t mean every player had a good or bad performance.

Players who play well can be considered ‘Winners’, while those who left a lot to be desired can be called ‘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 the latest game...

Winners

Ben Roethlisberger
Stat Line: 24/46, 123 yards, 2.7 average, 1 TD, 1 INT, 2 sacks for 14yards, 56.3 rating

Look at that stat line. Kind of looks bad, right? Wrong. It looks beautiful because of the game, the meaning of the game and how it all played out. Sure, there will be some fans who say Roethlisberger didn’t play well and shouldn’t be on the winners list. I am not one of those fans. For Roethlisberger’s last game at home, and the team to pull together a win for him, it didn’t matter if he threw for 300 or 30 yards, and as long as the team won it wouldn’t have mattered.

Najee Harris
Stat Line: 28 carries, 188 yards, 6.7 average, 1 TD, 37 long / 3 receptions, 18 yards, 3 targets

In previous weeks there were many who had soured on Najee Harris as the team’s running back and as the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. They are likely singing a different tune after this game, and it is crystal clear how Harris can beat NFL defenses if given the opportunity. The way he ran the ball on Monday night should give fans hope for the future of the position.

T.J. Watt
Stat Line: 5 tackles, 5 solo, 4 sacks, 3 TFL, 2 QB Hits, 2 Pass Defenses

It wasn’t enough for T.J. Watt to have the Steelers team sack record, he seems destined to go after the NFL record currently held by Michael Strahan. Watt’s 4 sacks in the game was the first time he has had 4 in a game, and it wasn’t just as a pass rusher Watt was wrecking the Browns’ offensive game play. As a tackler, pass defender and of course a pass rusher, Watt was as dominant as ever.

Cam Heyward
Stat Line: 4 tackles, 4 solo, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 2 Pass Defenses, 2 QB Hits

Like Watt, Cam Heyward, a fellow captain on the team, looked as if he wasn’t about to let the Browns come into Heinz Field and spoil Roethlisberger’s moment. First, kudos to Cam for letting Roethlisberger be the lone captain before the game, and above all Heyward proved just how valuable he is to this defense. In a season without Tyson Alualu and Stephon Tuitt, could you imagine not having Heyward? The thought alone is frightening.

Pass Rush
Stat Line: 9 total sacks

Let me spell it out for those who didn’t see the game live. Baker Mayfield was running for his life. Watt had 4 sacks, Alex Highsmith 2, Heyward 1, Derrek Tuszka 1 and Henry Mondeaux 1. It was a sack party, and plenty were invited. It was fun to see.

Chris Boswell
Stat Line: 2/2 XP, 4/4 FGs

Mr. Reliable was Mr. Reliable once again. Boswell is as good as they come, and he continues to prove it on a weekly basis.

Akhello Witherspoon
Stat Line: 0 tackles, 3 pass defenses, 1 INT

Remember when the lone memory of Witherspoon was seeing his name plate chasing down Henry Ruggs vs. the Raiders earlier this season? After spending time on the bench/inactive, Witherspoon has turned into quite the player. His three interceptions is a team leader, and despite being a free agent after this season, he has the look of a player the Steelers might want to keep around.

Tre Norwood
Stat Line: 1 INT

It was Norwood who came up with the interception of Mayfield which gave the ball back to the offense with just seconds remaining. It allowed Ben to hold the ball to end the game, and his tenure at Heinz Field. That means something, at least to me.

Corliss Waitman
Stat Line: 5 punts, 48.8 average, 1 inside 20

I didn’t acknowledge Waitman’s performance last week when he joined the team and started kicking on short notice, but I will this week. Waitman has done enough to at least earn a spot on the team’s offseason roster and to compete with Pressley Harvin III. His holding was on par, and so were his kicks. If he’s been anything the past two weeks, he’s been consistent. And for punters, that’s the name of the game.

Heinz Field
Stat Line: Place was rocking

It was great to see Heinz Field rocking and sounding like a playoff game, it had been a while. Maybe we fans don’t wait until another organizational icon decides to call it quits to do it again, eh?


Losers

NONE

Last week I had a first when I had no winners for the first time since I started writing this article and recording this podcast. This week, I can’t find a loser. Sure, I could point to another sub-standard 3rd down offensive performance, the inability to convert red-zone trips into touchdowns, but I’m not. Not after that game. Not after the way all three phases played together to collectively get the win, and don’t think for a second it wasn’t for Ben Roethlisberger. No losers today, not from me at least.


If you want a more detailed look at the above list, check out my “Let’s Ride” podcast where I outline each Winner and Loser, and MORE!