PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – Don’t worry.
Don’t concentrate on the drops or pay much attention to the handful of times that Steelers receiver Sammie Coates couldn’t keep his hands on the ball in Sunday’s 31-13 victory against the New York Jets.
Know why? What he did outweighed — far outweighed — what he didn’t do.
And, moving forward, what he can do far outweighs any risk in throwing him the football.
You see, even as Coates had a career day against the Jets, some Monday morning quarterbacks in our fair City of Steel can’t get past the fact that he bobbled and dropped a few would-be touchdown passes. Some people can’t get past what he didn’t do, all the while seemingly underselling the importance of that 72-yard touchdown catch he had early on to take the lid off the Jets’ secondary.
That play allowed Ben Roethlisberger to absolutely annihilate the Jets underneath all afternoon with short and mid-range routes, as they had to be extra mindful of Coates’ ability to simply run right past everyone.
Please don’t side with those who feel the need to shout all about Coates’ drops just after mentioning he had six catches for 139 yards and two touchdowns. Doing so is a disservice to him without quickly revealing he played much of the game with a laceration on the upper part of his hand sustained early on that required a stitches job at halftime in the underbelly of Heinz Field.
That’s the part I concentrate on from Coates’ performance — not the drops, but the fact that he did all of that (the catches and the touchdowns) while playing with a mangled hand that would preclude some receivers from getting back in the football game at all.
So why aren’t we looking at it like this on this Monday-after? We should be.
Why aren’t we taking a gander at things from that vantage? Because I think that’s where this story should be viewed from, that is what I think the story is.
Here is a young receiver, in Coates, who is in the shadows of perhaps the best receiver in the National Football League (Antonio Brown) and being asked to play a huge role this year because another young receiver (Martavis Bryant) can’t shake the weed and all he did was go out there and change a game while playing with a sliced up hand.
That’s big stuff. Really big stuff.
Sammie Coates is a guy who played through injury and pain and produced when the Steelers needed him most. Sammie Coates is a guy — for those reasons — that can and should be counted on.
To me at least, those drops yesterday are a very small part of the story.
Colin Dunlap is a featured columnist at CBSPittsburgh.com. He can also be heard weekdays from 5:40 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sports Radio 93-7 “The Fan.” You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out his bio here.