In a year that failed to meet expectations, there were standouts on this Pittsburgh Steelers team that exceeded expectations. Guys who’s role week in and week out were key reasons why the Steelers finished 12-4 in the regular season.
OT Max Starks. WR-KR Antonio Brown , despite only three starts, was the team MVP and the NFL’s first to reach 1,000-plus yards receiving and returning. Ben Roethlisberger passed for 4,077 yards, too. But Starks at blind-side left tackle so stabilized the offense, the Steelers went 10-2 in games he started and finished.
S Troy Polamalu. CB Ike Taylor was a close second, based on his Pro Bowl-worthy regular season (20 pass breakups, shutting down some of the NFL’s best WRs). But Polamalu topped the Steelers with 75 unassisted tackles, finished second with 13 pass breakups and combined with fellow S Ryan Clark for one of every 4.6 Steelers tackles.
WR Antonio Brown. He won the team’s vote for MVP, so he certainly deserves the special teams honor. He averaged 10.8 yards per punt return, with a TD, and 27.3 yards per kickoff return. He set a club record with 1,062 yards combined. CB Curtis Brown with a team-high 15 tackles was a distant second.