View Full Version : Look for big plays from lower profile players for the Steelers

01-06-2012, 09:14 AM
Donít be surprised this weekend if you see the big plays coming from guys who you havenít seen as much in 2011. The Broncos have 2 cornerbacks in Champ Bailey and Andre Goodman, with a combined 23 years of NFL experience and 288 starts to their name. They will be Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown all day long. While Iím sure Bruce Arians and Ben Roethlisberger wonít hesitate to try and utilize both Wallace and Brown, I also look for other names to be a factor in this game too.

Jerricho Cotchery is a savvy veteran who knows what it means to play in big games and make clutch plays in key situations. Thatís been his niche during his career and heís also shown some of that while with the Steelers in 2011. Cotchery wonít get the high profile attention in from the Broncos defense that other Steelers receivers will so look for him to have several big plays to his credit by the time itís over. Not that Jerricho canít outdo man to man because he certainly can, but Iíll take a matchup with him against a Nickelback or Safety most any day.

Weslye Saunders; certainly not a guy who you would think is going to beat you if youíre the Broncos but donít put it past the rookie to get some looks from Roethlisberger. Heath Miller is still a safety valve for Ben and more than capable enough in holding his own against any defense, but Saunders could have an impact in this game as well.

Emmanuel Sanders, certainly not an unknown in the Steelers offense but has missed significant time this season with knee and foot injuries. When healthy heís got great speed as well and has shown a knack for being fearless in going across the middle. Itís not like Broncos defense is playing anywhere near as well as they did earlier in the year, so you have to think their focus will be elsewhere and take their chances against the other weapons the Steelers have.


All of Mike Wallace's long touchdown catches mean little to him now. (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_775280.html#ixzz1igfud9kw)

Antonio Brown's team MVP and 1,000-yard season are nice but rather inconsequential.
Wallace and Brown, the lifeblood of the Steelers' offense, combined for 142 catches, 2,301 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns during the regular season. Those statistics don't translate into success during the postseason, but the self-proclaimed 'Young Money Crew' doesn't expect a decline in production Sunday when the Steelers travel to Denver for an AFC wild-card game.

Even if they will face some of the most physical cornerbacks in the league.
"This is when the great players step up," Wallace said. "It is good to be good in the regular season, but this is where legends are made. This is where you can make a name for yourself."

That especially can be true when you face veteran cornerbacks like Champ Bailey and Andre Goodman, who have a combined 23 years of experience and 288 career starts between them.

Making big plays in a playoff game against Bailey would expedite the process of making a name for yourself, especially with receivers who have two career postseason starts between them like Brown and Wallace.

"They don't have a lot of experience," Steelers receiver Hines Ward said. "Every play is critical ó that's the difference between the regular season and the playoffs."
The Broncos play a lot of press-man coverage that could present a problem for the Steelers, especially when combined with a pass rush provided by Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller.

"Those guys line up, and they get in your face," fellow receiver Jerricho Cotchery said. "You are going to have to separate and get off the jam to have a chance."
Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians was more succinct.
"If we can't beat it, we won't win," he said.

01-06-2012, 09:17 AM
Didn't we burn Champ last time?

01-06-2012, 10:11 AM
Champ certainly isn't the player he was in his hayday but he's still one of the better CB's in the AFC for sure. The Broncos could float both of their starters back and forth early between Wallace and Brown to see how matches up better once the game gets under way. If you're going to attack them, go after them early and see what they have.

01-06-2012, 10:35 AM
Given recent dismal performances, Ben's hobbledness, and the continual incompetence of Arians...not expecting much of anything from the Steelers' 21rst-ranked scoring offense.

Hope I am wrong. But Ben just isn't throwing well with that bum ankle: he can't seem to step into his throws. If offense musters their usual 20 ppg. if may be enough. But Steelers will likely need 2-3 turnovers at least, and possibly a defensive score, to pull this one out. So big plays will more than likely come from lesser-known defensive players...a Ryan Mundy or Willie Gay pick?

01-06-2012, 10:57 AM
21st ranked offense with IMO the best WR corp in the NFL, WOW that's bad!

01-06-2012, 07:19 PM
The Steelers have been getting by this year with mediocre performances against both good and bad teams. There were hopes that maybe they'd be able to break out last Sunday in Cleveland, and that didn't work out. Perhaps now that they are in the post season they find a way to open things up and walk away with this one.

I'm not holding my breath. I am though really feeling that some of those guys I mentioned are going to make some nice plays for us this weekend.

Black@Gold Forever32
01-06-2012, 08:05 PM
21st ranked offense with IMO the best WR corp in the NFL, WOW that's bad!

Best WR core in the NFL?....I think the Packers have the best WR's in the NFL.....Matt Flynn threw for 480 yards and 6 TD's against the Lions...I like the Steelers WR's a ton but I would take the Packers over them and its not close......still to have the WR's we have and only have the 21st ranked offense is very bad......

01-07-2012, 05:43 PM
Had the Steelers kept all their players healthy at WR the entire season it would have helped their cause. I think they have one of the best, arguably tied with the Packers for the best group. Because Sanders missed so much time that hurt them.

01-07-2012, 07:11 PM
I'm looking for big plays from our impact players. Ben, Wallace, Brown, Troy, Harrison, Timmons, Woodley. This is what they get the big money (or will get in a couple cases) for.

01-07-2012, 08:30 PM
Sanders has emerged as a mythological wide receiver. He's spoken on the same line as Antonio Brown having a whopping 376 yards and 288 yards in his last 2 seasons. I'm sorry but this guy looks very average to me. :2cents: