Steelers: Week 17 Winners and Losers
It’s a good time to be a Steelers fan! After consecutive seasons of a .500 record and awful football at times, it still bewilders me that your Steelers just won the AFC North and will play at home against Baltimore this Saturday. The Steelers are riding a 4 game win streak, sweeping the Bengals as well. Let’s take a look at the week 17 Pittsburgh Steelers winners and losers.
Antwon Blake and Brice McCain
The 2 cornerbacks, who started the year as the 4th and 5th on the depth chart, combined for 3 turnovers, a fumble recovery, and 10 tackles all while covering All Pro receiver AJ Green, who managed 82 yards. Antwon Blake also had a pass breakup on a deep ball to Green which he had near perfect coverage on. The secondary, after struggling mightily, has picked up their play recently and at the right time. These 2 cornerbacks’ play will be crucial going into the playoffs.
Dec 28, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back Antwon Blake (41) and cornerback Brice McCain (25) celebrate a fumble recovery by Blake against the Cincinnati Bengals during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 27-17. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Most of you who consistently read my winners and losers blog know that I usually do the offensive line as a unit, unless your David DeCastro going beast mode and taking over in the trenches. The offensive line in pass protection might have played their best game as a starting unit. They allowed zero sacks and gave Ben a clean pocket and pretty much all the time he needed to throw the ball for the majority of the game. This was also against a strong Cincinnati defensive line that consists of Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap.
Antonio Browns touchdown in the 4th quarter was one of the best plays I have ever seen from him, and he has made some fantastic plays. I think everybody knew that it was a miscommunication between Brown and Ben, but Brown made the adjustment and snagged the ball like I have never seen and did his best Antonio Brown imitation from there, breaking tackles and taking it to the house. He had 7 receptions for 128 yards and 2 touchdowns, one on a punt return.
Heyward has been unstoppable as of late, and really got suckered out of a Pro Bowl invite. He added to his sack total and finished the game with 7 tackles. His impact while pass rushing has forced offensive lines to double team him, which in turn has allowed Stephen Tuitt to get one on one matchups and use his talent from there to improve as every week passes.
Andrew Whitworth stopped the James Harrison bandwagon dead in its tracks, completely dominating the veteran linebacker Sunday night. You think maybe the Steelers would have tried rushing the quicker Jarvis Jones, because Harrison bull rush was swallowed up every time and his taking control of his dip to the ground. Rough night for Harrison.
Wing found out what it was like to be a rookie Sunday night, pretty much everything he did was awful. He averaged 39.7 yards on 2 punts and threw an interception on a fake punt that pretty much everyone in the stadium knew was coming. He needs to improve in the playoffs while the Steelers offense is still inconsistent when starting games.
Enjoy it while its here Steelers fans! Let me know what you think about the article by leaving a comment!