After a brief sabbatical last week, Flavell’s Five is back to talk about the Pittsburgh Steelers. Truth be told, after being trashed by the Cincinnati Bengals, there wasn’t much good to say anyway.
Fast forward a week, and what seemed like sadness and unhappiness gave Steelers fans yet another ray of hope. Was the victory over Baltimore enough to make Pittsburgh a contender in the playoff battle, or did they give fans one last reason to smile before the season ended for good?
Let’s dive into that and other things about the game, okay?
Give TJ Watt the DPOY Prize Now
It is no longer a race. Truth be told, it never really was. I’m not taking anything away from Myles Garrett. He’s an away animal for Cleveland and he’s worth every moment of his first overall draft selection in 2017. He’s not TJ Watt, and frankly, no one is.
Watt continued his dominance of the 2021 season by adding an additional 3.5 sacks, bringing his season total to 16. Those 16 sacks tied James Harrison for the franchise record. It only took him 10 games to reach that number. It’s incredible.
With five more games to go, Watt is sure to break the franchise record and potentially even reach Michael Strahan’s NFL record with 22.5 sacks in 2001. Those two games that Watt did not play in could make the difference. for him to reach the record. or not.
Just Sunday afternoon, Watt had 3.5 sacks, 10 presses on the quarterback and put in a hell of a game to push Lamar Jackson to throw a bad pass at Mark Andrews on the two-point conversion attempt.
Watt was a finalist for two consecutive seasons. He arguably should have won unequivocally last season. Watt seems to be on a mission to avenge this runner-up by finally receiving the Defensive Player of the Year award.
Roethlisberger’s last lap could be tough
We all love a good retirement story. Climb aboard your vehicle and watch the sunset with your head held high after an illustrious career.
No one is suggesting that Roethlisberger’s Steelers are going to sniff out the Super Bowl, let alone the playoffs. AFC North are so volatile that a 3-2 record in their last five games could just bring them in.
It is clear that Roethlisberger sometimes withheld this offense. The aging quarterback watched the game. He was really throwing it on Sunday, however.
Roethlisberger played an incredible fourth quarterback going 9/10 with 129 yards, two touchdowns and a nice pitch to Pat Freiermuth on the two-point conversion. He fought when it really mattered and brought the Steelers back into the game, just a brave effort from Big Ben.
He cherishes these moments. He said it after the game. Even Roethlisberger will admit that beating the Ravens is that much sweeter. This is the real rivalry for the Steelers. Cleveland and Cincinnati have both improved as teams in recent years. Roethlisberger’s success on both teams makes it difficult to quantify this as a true rivalry.
Roethlisberger’s final test before his potential playoff finals is trying to beat Minnesota, Tennessee, Kansas City, Baltimore and Cleveland. These last two games will be huge as they will likely determine the fate of the Steelers – and the Ohio teams.
Credit to Tomlin and Company to contain Lamar
Watching the Ravens and Steelers fight in the post-Joe Flacco era resulted in a series of memorable games. Tomlin now has a 16-14 advantage in wins over John Harbaugh in their career streak.
I hadn’t realized how well the Steelers had managed to contain Lamar Jackson during his young career. It’s also elusive that they come into the league today as a quarterback.
Tomlin explained how to get Jackson to beat you with his arm, not his legs. While he doesn’t have much time to slip out of the pocket, the Steelers have proven he certainly isn’t football’s greatest pitcher.
Well done to Tomlin and Co. in this regard. These are truly impressive numbers that the coaching staff and defense should be proud of.
Have the Steelers found Leglue on their offensive line?
I’ll start by clarifying that I don’t see John Leglue being the guy who stabilizes the offensive line and changes his trajectory. As poor as the line is, there’s a reason he hadn’t dressed for an NFL game until last week. He was drafted in 2019.
However, when it came on Sunday, the Steelers’ offensive line seemed to be playing better.
It’s great for him and great for the team. With all the injuries and the bad play, there’s no reason Leglue shouldn’t be back in the starting lineup next week. It’s worth trying.
Consider the fact that the hasty attack has been pretty nonexistent lately. All of a sudden it looks like there are signs of life. Leglue isn’t going to be an all professional lineman, but if he provides a spark to the line then you need to give him a bit of a run.
Dan Moore walked out of pain on Sunday. It’s hard to prepare injured guys for a Thursday night game. I bet John Leglue gets his first NFL start Thursday night against the Vikings. And so much the better for him.
Diontae Johnson is among the top 10 receivers
Diontae Johnson was a focal point in my last Flavell’s Five against the Chargers and rightly so. He was amazing in the near comeback. Johnson’s first crash of the season came last week against Cincinnati. He was determined to leave that behind.
So what does DJ do? He had 105 yards on eight catches and scored Roethlisberger’s two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Week after week, Johnson adds another layer of elite level play to his game.
Devante Adams. Tyreek Hill. ByAndré Hopkins. Cooper Kupp. These are all names you commonly hear thrown around as the best broads in the league. Johnson is not yet in that class. He slowly makes his way up there, however. He’s an incredibly gifted talent that makes people like Antonio Brown miss him.
As part of the league as a whole, it seems Johnson is vastly underrated. He’s had a Pro Bowl resume all season and he is heading for stardom during his breakout season. The absence of JuJu Smith-Schuster and the offense’s quick passing mentality helped Johnson climb into elite territory.
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Steelers likely won’t have two players against Vikings
Minkah Fitzpatrick says TJ Watt should win DPOY
Diontae Johnson inspired Minkah Fitzpatrick to improve this season
John Leglue on being cast in Steelers-Ravens rivalry
Lamar Jackson blames TJ Watt for failed 2-point conversion
The Steelers open up as an underdog to the Vikings