The Pittsburgh Steelers are finally back to their winning ways, having won back-to-back games for the first time since Week 5, and after their Thursday night win over the Indianapolis Colts their record is 6-5 and they remain in prime position to win the AFC North.
After every game there are players who deserve praise, and some who deserve to be tagged a 'loser'. See who falls into which category as the team now heads into Week 6 of the NFL regular season.
The Big 3 - Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell are the entire Steelers offense, and they were on again on Thursday night. Roethlisberger was extremely efficient, taking what the defense gave him, Bell rushed for over 100 yards for the second week in a row and Brown caught 3 huge touchdown passes. All of this seems very “ho-hum”, but it is just another day at the offense for “the Big 3”.
Ladarius Green - He only had two catches, but you can start to see what Green can do to this offense. With attention focused elsewhere, Green was able to beat a linebacker and have two huge field flipping receptions for 67-yards. Green looks to be getting comfortable, and that is great news for the Steelers offense moving forward.
Steelers Safeties - There is a lot of hate swirling around Sean Davis and Mike Mitchell, but the tandem played possibly their best games to date vs. Indy. Davis had several huge tackles, 5 total tackles, while Mitchell had 7 total tackles, 2 passes defended and an interception. A good night for the back end of the Steelers’ defense.
Red-Zone Defense - The bend, but don’t break, unit took those words to heart in Week 12. Several long drives stalled in the red-zone, and two of those took points off the board. The Colts were extremely aggressive in their decision making, and the Steelers made them pay for it with two 4th and goal stands. The most significant was the 19 play, 11 minute drive which resulted in zero points for the Colts.
The Munch Bunch - While the Steelers offense was clicking, it was the offensive line who was paving the way. The offensive line didn’t surrender a sack on Ben Roethlisberer, gave him the time to throw for 221 yards, 3 touchdowns and 0 INTs, and opened holes for Le’Veon Bell to the tune of 120 yards and a touchdown. Great offense starts with a great offensive line, and the Steelers unit was great Thursday night.
Penalties - For more times than I’d like to recall, the Steelers were plagued with penalties. It isn’t just the penalties, but when the penalties occur. Type of penalties can also hurt, and the Steelers had all kinds of penalties on Thanksgiving night. Pittsburgh had 7 penalties for 67 yards. Something which desperately needs cleaning up.
3rd down defense - The Steelers allowed 8 of 15 third down conversions, but the team struggled to get off the field in crucial times throughout the game. The defense stood tall when it mattered, but there is still plenty to improve upon.
Special Teams - The Steelers special teams have been an issue for weeks now, and it crept up again against the Colts on Thanksgiving night. Not only did they allow Jordan Todman to have a big kickoff return, special teams also surrendered a lengthy punt return and a fake punt thrown for a 35-yard pass completion. Danny Smith’s units haven’t been good, and it is becoming well painfully obvious on a weekly basis.