The Pittsburgh Steelers finished their regular season with a victory over the Cleveland Browns despite things not going their way in terms of qualifying for the playoffs. The Steelers finish their season 9-8 despite starting 2-6 prior to their bye week. The offense put up their second-most points of the season while the defense continued to hold teams to 17 points or less, making it eight of their last nine games coming out of the bye.
But who gets the game ball?
Each win for the Steelers this season, I will set forth nominations to receive the BTSC game ball. It does not necessarily have to be the best player on the field, but who really stepped up their game this particular week. After the case has been made, you all decide which player takes home the honor.
There have now been eight game balls given out this season with the most recent being in Week 17. The winner for that game was Najee Harris. In his first 100-yard rushing game since Week 17 of last season, Najee Harris had a 5.0 yards per attempt average as he rushed for 111 yards on 22 carries. Add in Harris catching two passes for 12 yards with a 10-yard touchdown to win the game in the final minute, it capped off a great night for the Steelers running back.
I will remind everyone of the rules that it is individual players who will be in the running. Although it could be applicable, it will not be either position groups or coaches who are eligible for this designation as they are more in line for Jeff Hartman’s Winners and Losers article.
So here are the nominations in no particular order:
Although he had a fumble two plays after he should have been ruled in for a touchdown, Najee Harris stayed steady throughout the day where had 23 carries for 84 yards and a rushing touchdown. Additionally, Harris added a 10-yard reception on his only target.
There’s just something about George Pickens and making improbable catches. Pulling in three passes for 72 yards along with a 31-yard touchdown, Pickens also had what some believe was another outstanding catch on the sideline but was ruled incomplete. Additionally, Pickens was also interfered with in the end zone which led to the Steelers final touchdown.
Targeted four times in the game where he had three receptions for 45 yards, every pass that went Connor Heyward‘s way was on the Steelers final drive of the game. After starting the drive off with a 9-yard reception, Heyward stepped up after the Pat Freiermuth injury where his other two catches were both third down conversions. The two catches were one being 27 yards on a third and eight and the other being 9 yards also on a third and eight.
Finishing the year as the Steelers sack leader, Alex Highsmith added 2.5 sacks to his total this week to bring his season total of 14.5. Highsmith also added eight tackles in the game.
Also with eight tackles in the game, Connor‘s big brother Cam added 2.0 sacks of his own although he technically should have had 3.0 as one was wiped out by a ridiculous roughing the passer penalty. The Steelers captain also added one pass defensed on a day where he had four of the Steelers 10 quarterback hits. With his two sacks, Heyward finishes in double digits for the third time in his twelve-year career.
So what do you think? Who deserves the game ball for the Steelers this week? Make sure you vote in the poll as this is how the winner will be determined. And of course, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Who gets the BTSC game ball in the Steelers Week 18 win over the Browns?
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