However, 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 2 of the NFL regular season.
Second week in a row where Williams finds his way into the Winners column. Him gaining well over 100 yards from scrimmage has turned into another ho-hum affair, but this performance was different. Williams didn't have some of the gaping holes he experienced in Week 1, instead he had to earn every yard of his 94 yards on 32 carries. He also contributed 38 yards and a touchdown in the receiving game to put his overall yardage to 132 yards for the day. Just another day at the office for Williams
Jesse James / Xavier Grimble
The Steelers were determined to use their tight ends early and often, and they cashed in big time for the black and gold. Grimble got the Steelers on the board with his first NFL reception, and his first touchdown, and James also cashed in with a touchdown of his own. What shouldn't be overlooked is Grimble's huge catch on 3rd down to move the chains when the play broke down, and James' impressive catch along the sideline on the team's first scoring drive.
Cockrell might have had to do a double take when he walked into the meeting room today. "Ross, you are going to shadow A.J. Green this week." None the less, Cockrell did a tremendous job on the All-Pro receiver, holding him to 2 catches and 38 yards. Cockrell also added 3 tackles and 2 pass defenses to his body of work in Week 2.
Punters are people too, and Berry had himself a game on Sunday. Berry averaged 47.1 yards, and had 5 punts inside the 20-yard line with only one touchback. He had a long of 58-yards, but was tremendous pinning the Bengals deep in their own end to start drives. It played a huge role in the defensive scheme, and Berry was on top of his game in Week 2.
Don't look now, but the Steelers have a gamer on their hands. Coates might not be the most consistent receiver on the team, and certainly doesn't have the best hands, but he comes up with big plays when his number is called. He did it in Week 1 with a 42-yard catch, and did it again in Week 2 with only 2 catches, but those two receptions totaled 97-yards receiving. Every time the team needed a big play, it was Coates delivering.
There were so many players who could be added to this list I decided to just throw in the overall defense. Not only did they limit A.J. Green and hold the Bengals' offense to 16-points, they were dynamic. Mike Mitchell and William Gay played an extremely physical, and clean, style of football, Ryan Shazier was as dynamic as every and Robert Golden continued to prove why the team gave him the 3-year contract he signed prior to the season. I could go on, but the defensive effort was amazing. Best stat of the game? Holding the Bengals' offense to 4-for-16 on 3rd down conversions.
Roethlisberger has found his way on this list before, but it is rare. After a tremendous second half, throwing two touchdowns, it was obvious Roethlisberger was "off". Roethlisberger missed on several wide open throws, and looked as if some early abuse in the pocket may have taken it's toll. This is nit-picking, because it is nice when the franchise quarterback doesn't play his best game, still throws for 259 yards and 3 touchdowns and wins the football game.
Is it too soon to say the Bengals secondary has Brown's number? Cincinnati's secondary held the dynamic pass catcher to just 4 catches for 39 yards on 11 targets. Pittsburgh's offense was able to make plays, but Brown was the recipient of several poor throws by Roethlisberger which certainly negated some of Brown's receptions and yardage in this game. The play which most likely continues to replay in fans' minds? The blatant drop after Roethlisberger escaped the pocket, which would have resulted in a first down.