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Steelers News: Martavis Bryant still a work-in-progress

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The freakishly talented Martavis Bryant is continuing to work his way back after a year away due to suspension.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Indianapolis Colts Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers want to have the best offense in the NFL, and they certainly can do that, if they get everyone on the field and on the same page. You know, not taking to social media following a game to bash a teammate, or getting suspended for a year due to multiple failed drug tests.

Nonetheless, while Martavis Bryant remains an enigma to the fan base, it’s worth remembering that he remains a work-in-progress as he continues to get assimilated back to life in the NFL, as well as finding his niche on this football team.

“I think the main part with me was, I wanted to come back in and have instant success but it didn’t work out like that,” Bryant acknowledged to Mike Prisuta of Steelers.com. “Now, it’s about being patient and just going out and having fun with it, and just let everything fall into place.”

“You can’t fight the process,” Bryant said. “You just have to be willing to get better. Me and ‘Coach T’ had talks about not fighting the process. He knows that I’m not going to fight the process. He knew it wasn’t going to be easy for me.

“It’s all about being on the same page, working hard and going out and executing.”

Consecutive games that earned quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s approval haven’t taken the pressure off, Bryant said, mostly because he insisted he wasn’t feeling any.

“I don’t have any pressure,” he said. “All I want to do is win. As long as we’re winning, we’re having fun doing it, what pressure do I have?

“Our season is defined by the Super Bowl. We want to win the Super Bowl. The individual stuff will come later but right now I want to win a Super Bowl. Everybody else in here wants to win a Super Bowl. We want to do it for Mr. Rooney.”

Time to check on other news surrounding the Black-and-gold outside the walls of BTSC:

One 40-point game can do wonders for your scoring average. In one fell swoop Thursday night the Steelers went from 20th in the NFL in scoring up to 13th. It was the long-awaited breakout game for the Steelers, and the players said afterward they hoped it would be the start of a new trend.

But is their 22.7 points-per-game average enough to win a Super Bowl? History suggests it would be difficult, although not impossible, to accomplish. In fact, if the Steelers maintain their current pace (22.7 points per game) and standing in the league (13th) and went on to win the Super Bowl, they would be one of the worst offenses in NFL history to raise the Lombardi trophy.

Coincidentally, the 2008 Steelers are the worst scoring offense to win a Super Bowl. The 2008 Steelers ranked 20th in the NFL in scoring, averaging 21.7 points per game. That Steelers team narrowly beats out the 2015 Denver Broncos, who were 19th in the league in scoring, averaging 22.2 points per game.

Since the 1970 merger, only the 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (18th), 1990 N.Y. Giants (15th), 2007 Giants (14th), and 2000 Baltimore Ravens (14th) won the Super Bowl with offenses ranked lower than 13th in the league.

Senquez Golson made the news Wednesday, signing as a practice-squad player with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. You are familiar with his sad Steelers story, right? A No. 2 pick in the 2015 draft, he never played a down here because of a long list of injuries. The team finally released him in early September.

Mike Hilton made a different kind of news Thursday night in the Steelers’ 40-17 win against the Tennessee Titans. He had his second interception of the season and was credited with five tackles. After going undrafted in 2016, failing tryouts with the Jacksonville Jaguars and New England Patriots and being out of football for three months, he was signed to the Steelers’ practice squad in December. He has been their top nickel back since day one this season and has emerged as a top playmaker.

Golson and Hilton were teammates at Mississippi where Golson had 10 interceptions as a senior and was a unanimous All-America choice.

Hilton is doing with the Steelers what Golson was drafted to do.

Several years ago, the NFL opened up a real-time fiber line from the league office to every game site, in order to permit assistance and consultation with the replay review process. The league has since expanded the use of the pipeline to include matters relating to game administration.

Here’s the rule, as it’s currently written: “The Replay Official and designated members of the Officiating Department at the League office may consult with the on-field officials to provide information on the correct application of playing rules, including appropriate assessment of penalty yardage, proper down, and status of the game clock.”

On Thursday night, the game officials, the replay officials, and senior V.P. of officiating Al Riveron failed to apply the proper when Steelers receiver Antonio Brown fumbled the ball forward from the 40 to the 31, where it was recovered by Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant. The ball should have been placed back at the 40. Four plays later, the Steelers extended their lead from 13-7 to 16-7 via a 50-yard field goal just before halftime.

During a Monday media briefing, NFL spokesman Michael Signora explained that the league office had “no disagreement” with the explanation provided during the NBC broadcast regarding the failure to spot the ball in the right place.

But to the extent that the game officials are catching the bulk of the blame for this, the truth is that the accountability extends more broadly. Yes, the officials should have noticed the situation and fixed it. The on-site replay official also should have noticed the situation and fixed it. And Riveron should have noticed the situation and fixed it.