By Christina Rivers
The Pittsburgh Steelers have made quite the recovery from early-season injuries and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. In that past few weeks, the Steelers have fielded one of the most potent offenses in the NFL in 2015. Three Steelers players were selected to the Pro Bowl this week marking the 15th season Pittsburgh will send multiple players to the league’s All-Star game. This week, the Steelers are also celebrating historic moments in their franchise history with news circulating around the duo of QB Ben Roethlisberger and receiver Antonio Brown, as well as their teammates, after back-to-back weeks of history-making play. The Steelers look forward to rivalry play against the Baltimore Ravens this weekend.
On Tuesday night, just days removed from the Christmas holiday, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, receiver Antonio Brown, and offensive guard David DeCastro were informed they had been selected to the 2016 Pro Bowl. Roethlisberger earned his fourth selection after being chosen in 2008, 2012 and 2015. Brown also earned his fourth selection after being chosen in 2012, 2014 and 2015. DeCastro was selected to his first Pro Bowl game.
Making history on offense
Through Week 16, Roethlisberger leads the NFL in passing yards per game with 336.9 and became the first quarterback in the league to throw for 300 yards against the Denver Broncos since December 7, 2014. He has completed 271 passes for 3,369 yards and 18 touchdowns and set a Steelers record with five consecutive 250-completion seasons; throwing a touchdown pass in 38 straight home games marking the fourth-longest streak in NFL history and the second-longest streak among active players. Roethlisberger has also earned AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors twice this season (Weeks 2 and 10).
Brown, named the AFC Offensive Player of the Month for November, is currently ranked second in the league in receptions (116) and leads all receivers with 1,586 receiving yards (1,614 yards from scrimmage). Against the Broncos, Brown had his eighth 100-yard game and recorded his ninth touchdown. Brown became the first player in NFL history to record two games with 15 or more receptions in a single game twice in the same season. Setting a franchise record, Brown has caught at least 110 passes for the third straight season. He is one of only three Steelers players to record 6,500 career receiving yards, joining Hines Ward and Lynn Swann, while posting back-to-back seasons with at least 1,500 receiving yards – the only player in Steelers history to do so.
Teammates talk about offensive success
Running back DeAngelo Williams was not shy about expressing how well he feels the Steelers offense has done this season. “It’s all working because of the communication with Ben (Roethlisberger) and the wide receivers and myself,” Williams said this week. “Our tight ends do a great job of blocking and are receiving threats.” Williams called the threats the offense has produced “deadly,” and pointing to the fact that opponents have not been able to single out an individual and shut down the performance of the offense.
“Our offense is unstoppable,” defensive tackle Cam Heyward stated. “To have an offense that can go up and down the field with anybody…it’s pretty special.” Heyward credited the offensive line for doing a great job as well as the other cogs that make the offense run. “They don’t rest on their laurels…You appreciate that as a defense. We are just trying to make it the same on the other side [of the ball].” Heyward also credited the offense for pushing defensive players in practice to improve.
Looking for consistency after early-season loss to Ravens
The Steelers did not have a successful outcome in their first meeting with Baltimore early in the 2015 season, losing by a field goal. The Steelers have since employed Chris Boswell, a guy who earned the nickname “money” from his teammates for his consistency. “(Chris) has been very good and solid,” head coach Mike Tomlin said in his Tuesday press conference. “For a young guy, he doesn’t ride the emotional rollercoaster…he is a very level headed and even keeled young man.”
Tomlin addressed questions about the defense as well, but indicated the team understands what the Ravens present this week. “I don’t lack confidence in their level of play, but we have to play consistently well,” said Tomlin. “We just expect our play to look more like it did in the second half than it did in the first half of last week.”
Christina Rivers has covered the Pittsburgh Steelers and National Football League professionally as a journalist and photographer for over a decade. Rivers studied Exercise Physiology and Sports Psychology at Brigham Young University as a student-athlete. Christina is a freelance writer covering all things NFL as well as a published author. Her work can be found on