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Cortez Allen was benched at the end of the Steelers Week 8 win over the Colts

Many would say it was a move made too late, but the Steelers finally flat-out sat down their highest-paid, active cornerback at the end of the Steelers' win over Indianapolis.

Justin K. Aller

Relieved of his starting position prior to the Steelers' Week 7 win over the Houston Texans, former starting cornerback Cortez Allen accepted a smaller role in the win over Houston.

He worked to accept the same role in Week 8 against the Indianapolis Colts. It was the least-challenging thing he had to do all day. The toughest? Covering the Colts' far more athletic receivers. And in that he failed.


Steelers coach Mike Tomlin confirmed to BTSC senior beat reporter Dale Grdnic after the game Allen was benched completely by the end of the game, possibly the result of allowing a 31-yard touchdown pass from Colts quarterback Andrew Luck to rookie wide receiver Donte Moncrief, one of several big plays Allen allowed during the game. One could argue the score would have been tilted even more in the Steelers' favor if not for Allen's seeming lack of confidence and aggression during the game.

"He was giving up plays, and we needed stops. It's as simple as that," Tomlin said after the game, quoted by Grdnic. "You have to play better. (Antwon) Blake came in and made a play for us and it was significant. But make no mistake. I have a great deal of belief in Cortez. He's got to bounce back from this, but I did what was necessary tonight to secure a victory."

Blake replaced Allen and snagged the game-sealing interception late in the fourth quarter.

Allen had left Tomlin no choice by the latter part of the game, however. CBS broadcasters Jim Nantz and Phil Simms incorrectly awarded Allen a pass deflection on what should have been a touchdown catch for T.Y Hilton in the first half. Hilton simply dropped a pass that hit him in the gut as Allen flailed at one of several passes that arched over his head during the game. It was clear the Colts located Allen on the field, tested him and reaped the benefits.

This comes in the wake of several very poor performances from Allen, the recipient of a hefty contract extension this off-season. Allen appeared due for that contract, considering the level of progression he showed over the last two seasons. But his production has turned shockingly poor in 2014, and there's a legitimate question now about how much he should be on the field moving forward.

Tomlin made the decision to take him off of the field completely and that didn't come long after Tomlin decided to remove him from the starting lineup. Something's wrong with him and, until he figures it out mentally, he's a liability, and one the 5-3 Steelers can't afford to keep on the field.