It’s always good to write an article like this after a win. The Pittsburgh Steelers put on an excellent performance in all phases of the game to beat the Cincinnati Bengals on the road to get their first division win in the week.. But as I went back and reviewed the game, I was hard pressed to find a defensive player that really stood out. And then it came to me.
While I was impressed with the play of linebacker Lawrence Timmons who seemed to be around the ball a lot, safety Ryan Clark, and linebacker LaMarr Woodley as well, in the end the final analysis wasn’t about what did happen, but what didn’t happen; that made this pick easy.
After being picked on last week and getting some untimely pass interference penalties, cornerback Ike Taylor recused himself big time. They moved Taylor all over the field, asking him to cover Bengals star wide out AJ Green for the bulk of his plays. And while he did have safety help, Taylor’s job was tough. And when the final gun sounded, AJ Green had exactly 1 catch. Keep in mind this is a player some consider one of the 3 or 4 best wide outs in the league, and he had one catch. If a game like this came from a player like Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, it would be all over SportCenter today, but instead it gets lost.
But for me, there might not have been a better individual effort that no one notice that that of Taylor’s. He was physical with Green, kept him off balance, and maintained his assignment with the help he had. Even on the touchdown that Green caught, Taylor had as good a man coverage as you could have, shading the outside, but his safety was late in the middle. Even then he almost made the play. This sort of effort, even if it didn’t show up in his box score, is why he’s the Steelers defensive player of the week.
What do you think Steelers fans? Did Taylor deserve the award for this week? Come follow me on Twitter @nfldraftboard and let me know.