PITTSBURGH — While it first seemed to appear that another week would just mean a similar result for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger silenced his doubters by leading his team to a much needed comeback win over the Colts.
But the win did not come easy for the Steelers. It took the largest comeback for the Steelers under head coach Mike Tomlin (22 points) in order to leave the stadium with a 28-24 victory.
The struggles from recent weeks continued for Roethlisberger and the offense upon kickoff with incompletions to Dionate Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Conversely, Philip Rivers and the Colts offense were able to expose a clearly tired Steeles defense, who did not have much time to take a breathe, throughout most of the first half.
That was the story of the first half, but things certainly changed at Heinz Field after both teams returned from their locker rooms.
One constant throughout the game saw the Steelers defense do what it does best – generate a pass rush and create turnovers. But it only started to have a true impact once the offense could capitalize and move the ball down the field on their own. Individually, TJ Watt had a stellar game with 2 sacks, highlighted by becoming the only player in Steelers history to record 14+ sacks in multiple seasons. Watt forced a fumble, which led Pittsburgh to a touchdown off a 1-yard run by James Conner. Mike Hilton also picked Rivers off late in the 4th quarter as Indianapolis attempted to answer trailing for the first time all game.
Ben Roethlisberger, who finished game going 34 for 49 for 342 yards and 3 touchdown passes, found Diontae Johnson for a 39-yard touchdown late in the third quarter and put up another score with a strike to tight end Eric Ebron in the 4th quarter to fully crawl back in the game. The Steelers then eventually took the lead for the first time all day thanks to a 25-yard touchdown reception by JuJu Smith-Schuster, who had been facing tons of criticism for dancing on opposing logos while the team was losing.
It was then all up to the Colts veteran signal caller. With two minutes on the clock and the pressure now squarely on his shoulders, it was Rivers’ job to get his team into the end zone. He came close. A field goal would not be enough. He failed. The Steelers defense stepped up. And the Steelers held on for the win, snapping their losing streak and also winning the AFC North.
Bud Dupree ‘Ahead of Schedule’ in Rehab from Torn ACL
Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree joined NFL Network’s Good Morning Football on Wednesday, and shared encouraging news regarding his rehab from the torn ACL that ended his 2020 season.
“I’m feeling great right now,” Dupree said. “I’m ahead of schedule in rehab. It’s a great thing as always, it’s a blessing.”
He recently shared a video of him walking with a brace on Instagram. Dupree also said he expects to be ready for training camp, whether that is in Pittsburgh or elsewhere.
“I’m on track. And I’m going to be ready for camp. It’s a blessing to take the small things from a big injury like there was, and just know that I’m still able to perform next season.”
Dupree was having another stellar season before tearing his ACL in the Steelers’ Week 12 win over the Baltimore Ravens. He had eight sacks, eight tackles-for-loss, 15 quarterback hits and a pair of forced fumbles in eleven games.
Dupree, 27, is set to hit free agency this offseason after playing last season under the franchise tag, which paid him $15.828 million. As crucial as he has been to the team’s success defensively in recent years, it is unlikely the Steelers will be able to resign him given their drastic cap situation.
Still, plenty of clubs will be vying for Dupree’s services in just a few months, and the encouraging injury news will only increase his value on the open market.
No Guaranteed Money in Dwayne Haskins’ Low-Risk Steelers Contract
Further details of quarterback Dwayne Haskins’ new contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers have emerged, demonstrating just how low-risk the acquisition is for the club.
According to ESPN’s Field Yates, Haskins’ Reserve/Future contract with the Steelers is a one-year, $850,000 deal with no guaranteed money.
No bells or whistles to Dwayne Haskins' reserve/future deal with the Steelers: 1-year, $850K, 0 guarantees.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) January 26, 2021
He's got plenty of money still due from WFT.
This was all about fit for Haskins, with a good chance to develop in Pittsburgh, while the Steelers take a zero risk flier.
Simply put, the Steelers will not be on the hook for any money if they decide to part ways further down the line. If Haskins turns out to be a diamond in the rough for Pittsburgh, they will have acquired him on a tremendous bargain.
Haskins is not getting a raw deal financially either, as he is still being paid on his four-year, $14,416,611 rookie deal with Washington. Signing with the Steelers gives him an opportunity to prove himself with a steady organization without worrying about the financial implications.
A first round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft out of Ohio State, Haskins was waived by Washington in late December after the young quarterback was photographed maskless at a strip club, in clear violation of the league’s COVID-19 protocols and mid-pandemic common sense.
Haskins was shaky over two seasons in Washington, passing for 12 touchdowns with 14 interceptions, while completing just over 60% of his passes.
The Steelers are hoping Haskins can flash the talent he showed in his final season at Ohio State, where he completed 70% of his passes for 4,831 yards with 50 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. He finished third in Heisman Trophy voting in 2018.
By signing Haskins to such a low-risk, team-friendly contract, Pittsburgh will have an excellent opportunity to determine if some of that talent is still there.
Report: Steelers Interviewing Mike Sullivan for QB Coach Vacancy
The Pittsburgh Steelers are reportedly interviewing Mike Sullivan for their quarterbacks coach vacancy, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac.
A 17-year coaching veteran at the NFL level, Sullivan was most recently the quarterbacks coach for the Denver Broncos in 2018. He also has previous experience as an offensive coordinator with the New York Giants (2016-17) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2012-12).
Sullivan is currently the Director of Recruiting at his alma mater Army, a position he has held since March of last year.
Sullivan would also bring additional championship pedigree to the Steelers, having won Super Bowls XLII and XLVI with the Giants.
Former Giants quarterback Eli Manning had one of the best seasons of his career in 2011 under Sullivan, passing for a career-high 4,933 yards and 29 touchdowns.
The Steelers are looking to fill the void left by Matt Canada, who was officially promoted to offensive coordinator on Monday.
The Steelers are talking to Mike Sullivan, a long-time former offensive coordinator/QB coach with the NY Giants and Denver Broncos, about becoming their QB coach, per source.— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) January 26, 2021