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Varsity & JV: Winners & losers from the Steelers’ loss to the Patriots

Winners and losers from Week 14

New England Patriots v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Spoiler alert- like Sunday, the Varsity list is going to be very short. It was a struggle to even find enough guys to warrant making a list. But regardless, I did. So here are the varsity and junior-varsity performers of Week 14

Varsity

LB Elandon Roberts

No. 50 is so irreplaceable right now. He deflected the pass that was intercepted by Mykal Walker while also finishing with a sack, tackle for loss, and a hit on Bailey Zappe. Roberts has been such a great addition to the team this season, and continues to be one of the lone bright spots of a mediocre team.

LB Nick Herbig

Herbig led the team with seven tackles last night- I know, I was surprised, too. My guess as to why Markus Golden was made inactive was to get Herbig more snaps, and he made the most of them, including getting a tackle for loss.

DT Cam Heyward

Heyward had one of his better games of the season, finishing second on the team in tackles, as well as recording a sack and tackle for loss.

WR Diontae Johnson

Johnson did his absolute best. He caught three passes for 71 yards and a score, and was easily the best skill position player on the field for the Steelers.

Junior-Varsity

QB Mitch Trubisky

I mean, yeah, that was terrible. He should have had four interceptions last night, he had one called back because of a penalty, and he threw one directly to Jabrill Peppers that did, indeed, stand. Trubisky averaged just over five yards per attempt, made numbskull decisions all night, and when the game was on the line and Pittsburgh needed just two yards, he launched a ball to the sun and prayed for a pass interference penalty to extend the drive. Inexcusable performance.

S Damontae Kazee

Kazee was late on at least three plays that went for big yards, including the opening drive deep connection to JuJu Smith-Schuster. He may have had a career game if he was a split second faster, but alas, here we are.

WR George Pickens

Look. I understand. If I was an athletic freak who caught everything thrown at me and I was utilized like George Pickens, it would take everything in me to hold my emotions in and not be frustrated. However, he needs to be tougher mentally. Because the constant moping and visual displeasure is getting him nowhere, and it’s awful optics. Five catches for just 19 yards will do that to a guy, and I get it, but his reactions aren’t helping anyone.

Offensive line

It was a brutal night when it came to run blocking. Mason Cole was bad again, which isn’t exactly news, but I figured I’d tell you. Broderick Jones also had some bad run block reps. In total, Jaylen Warren and Najee Harris only combined for 59 yards on 20 carries.

Pass defense

I know I singled out Kazee, but it’s a group effort when Bailey Zappe throws for 8.6 yards per attempt and three touchdowns with a passer rating of 115.2. An embarrassing performance all around by the Steelers’ secondary that doesn’t look like its improving in the slightest.

OC Eddie Faulkner and QB Coach/ play-caller Mike Sullivan

That looked like a Matt Canada offense. Banging your heads against the wall on first and second down and running no matter what, which gets you behind the sticks and in third and long situations, which the offense is not built to execute on. Pickens’ frustration was warranted, as I said, because look at his route chart. When i said move him around, that also implies that he can’t just do the same two things. Plus, there was no adjustments to the Patriots’ dominating their run game, and nothing explosive to take the top off the defense. This was a disaster.

HC Mike Tomlin

This is the worst two-game stretch of the Mike Tomlin era, and a clear sign that it’s time to pull the plug. This thing has hit its ceiling, and it honestly did a long time ago. Things aren’t getting better, the team morale is at an all-time low, and they aren’t showing signs of improving with time to become any sort of contender. Tomlin has been the Steelers head coach for 17 seasons- he has won a playoff game in four of them. Four. No more weak excuses, no more running this team like it’s the 1970s and never firing anyone- make changes. Because if the Steelers don’t, that sends the message that they are content with being mediocre.