You know the drill. The Pittsburgh Steelers win the football game and praise is heaped on players who made huge plays, and rightfully so, but what about those players who might not be making headlines, but are making plays to help the team win.
It was this simple thought which spawned the BTSC feature "Unsung Heroes" from the most recent Steelers win, and boy was the last victory something special. The Steelers' come from behind victory was one to remember, and I have picked five unsung heroes from the black and gold who deserve credit for their contributions.
(Side Note: There will be no mention of any members of the Cincinnati Bengals in this article.)
Offensive Line - It wasn't a dominant performance which resulted in a 30-point output, but the offensive line did a great job against a good defense in both run blocking and pass protection. The line allowed three sacks of Ben Roethlisberger, but not all of those were on the boys in the trenches. What was most impressive was their ability to open lanes for the running back tandem of Fitzgerald Toussaint and Jordan Todman. Combined, the Steelers produced 167 yards rushing without their starting running back. It wasn't a perfect outing, but just what the doctor ordered to get the Steelers to the divisional round of the playoffs.
Chris Boswell - The man who has the Twitter handle 'WizardofBoz' did plenty to help cement his place on the Steelers' roster moving into 2016. Boswell went 4-for-4 on field goal attempts, including the game-winning 35-yard field goal. On the day before Blair Walsh of the Minnesota Vikings missed a potential game-winning 27-yard field goal, you appreciate the ice water pulsing throughout Boswell's veins. Did I mention he hit all of his kicks in a torrential downpour? Yeah, he did that.
Jarvis Jones - Steelers fans love to hate Jarvis Jones. The man who has really struggled getting acclimated at the OLB position in the NFL has finally started to come into his own, and just at the right time. Jones might not have had a huge statistical night like Ryan Shazier, but the plays he made were important. Jones had 4 tackles, but his sack fumble was a huge play for the Steelers in the first half of the football game. A play which isn't going noticed, unless you watch the play closely is his part in the Jeremy Hill fumble. Take a look at the video below:
Notice how Jones works down the line reading the play, and it is the contact he makes on Hill which prevents him from getting his second hand on the football. The result is a forced fumble by Shazier, and new life for the Steelers.
Bud Dupree - Like his fellow linebacker Jones, Dupree's stat sheet won't reflect the type of game he played. His three tackles and one tackle for a loss seems extremely pedestrian, but Dupree showed a great eye for the football and allowed his natural instincts and reactions to help him make consistent plays in both run defense, as well as moving the quarterback off his launching point. If the Steelers can continue to get this kind of production from Dupree, they could be set up for a long playoff run.
Mike Tomlin - I'm sure many will disagree with this selection, but rarely does Tomlin get credit for team victories, as I'm sure he would prefer if you asked him. However, after this game Tomlin deserves a lot of credit for how his team composed themselves. Before you take to the comment section declaring me a fool, hear me out. Go back and watch the game and watch how many times members of the Bengals looked out of control. Quite a lot. Now think back and try to think of one occasion where a member of the Steelers looked out of control. I tried hard, asked fellow fans, and no one could come up with an answer. The biggest blemish to Tomlin on Saturday night was his coaching staff -- Mike Munchak and Joey Porter -- somehow getting involved in the game, but other than that the Steelers had a "been there, done that" approach which ultimately helped them win the game. Sometimes football isn't only about X's and O's, but management. Look at Marvin Lewis' management compared to Tomlin's. Yeah, I think Tomlin deserves some credit.