On a night where a lot of players and plays stood out, here is our best of the best from the Steeler 45-10 victory over the Colts at Heinz Field
NUMBER OF THE NIGHT…1: As in just one target and reception for Indianapolis WR Donte Moncrief. He had eight catches last week en route to 114 yards for the Colts. Also, one represented the total number of times Pittsburgh had to punt the entire evening.
PERSONNEL DECISION OF THE NIGHT: Playing Brandon Boykin. Finally. A little less Antwon Blake helps. A little more Brandon Boykin helps too. Now that he has finally been allowed onto the field, maybe his first impression will get him there more often. He had an interception and another pass defensed and was generally solid. Too bad Mike Tomlin threw cold water on the performance afterwards when he poo-pooed Boykin’s impact.
THROW OF THE NIGHT: Ben Roethlisberger made a lot of them. He was 24-39 for 365 yards with 4 TDS. But his 2nd and 10 throw to Antonio Brown from the IND 41 was a thing of beauty. He timed a difficult throw across the field perfectly and dropped it over one defender and in front of another right into Brown’s hands along the sideline for 26 yards. That set up a TD that made it 14-10 Pittsburgh. Only two or three other quarterbacks in the league are even capable of making a pass like that.
HUSTLE PLAY OF THE NIGHT: Cam Heyward. Who else. On a night where the defense showed far more good than bad, one play was a negative. Colts RB Frank Gore had a catch and run of 34 yards when he broke three weak tackle attempts by Steeler defenders. But Heyward busted his butt all the way down the field to tackle Gore. While Gore ran about 28 yards after the catch, Heyward probably had to run about 40 to catch him. And he did. Cam Heyward is Pittsburgh’s best defensive player by a mile.
REALITY CHECK OF THE NIGHT: The Steelers are still out of a playoff spot. The Chiefs and the Jets both had comeback wins. So they hold the two Wild Card spots as of now. New York will be at least favored to win its next two games. And Kansas City will likely to be favored to win all of its next four. Meanwhile the Steelers will likely be underdogs the next two weeks.
REALITY CHECK OF THE NIGHT… PART TWO: As of now, if the Steelers do grab the last Wild Card spot, they may have to go to New England. The Patriots have sunk to third place in the AFC after losing for a second straight time. That could change though, seeing as how if Pittsburgh gets in, they may have to beat the top two teams in the AFC to do it (Cincy & Denver). And the Bengals and Broncos still play each other.
REDEMPTION OF THE NIGHT: The outside linebackers. As a unit, this group has struggled in recent weeks. In Seattle, for instance, offensive guard David Decastro had two tackles. That was as many as outside linebackers Bud Dupree, Jarvis Jones, and James Harrison combined. But against the Colts. James Harrison had three sacks and a forced fumble. Arthur Moats had a sack. And Jarvis Jones had an interception.
PENALTY OF THE NIGHT: Kicker Chris Boswell getting a facemask in a desperate effort to drag down kick returner Quan Bray. I always see a manly side to a kicker getting a personal foul. Way more manly than Antonio Brown getting a penalty for his bad impersonation of a pole dancer at Cheerleaders or Blush after his punt return TD.
PARTY FOUL OF THE NIGHT: Hey Steeler fans, Heath Miller didn’t play. The white guy catching passes Sunday was Jesse James.
ODDITY OF THE NIGHT: Have we ever seen a game at Heinz Field where there were three turnovers before the pre game firework smoke had cleared?