Second-year linebacker Ryan Shazier has silenced critics with his strong play during the 2015 regular season. After a strong performance in week one, Shazier set the tempo for the Pittsburgh Steelers defense on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers by leading in tackles (15 total) and adding a sack and forced fumble with a recovery. He also had three tackles for a loss and a quarterback hit.
Head coach Mike Tomlin said of Shazier, “He’s going to have an impact in whatever stadium he’s in. He’s that kind of player. He’s sharp and has gained experience. We expect his arrow to be pointed up week in and week out. He brings that approach, so I’m not surprised when he plays well.”
The Steelers defense has been highly criticized this year as they struggled game after game to communicate with each other on the field and produce consistent results. On Sunday, before a record-breaking Heinz Field crowd, Shazier and the defense had few mistakes and effectively shut down Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers offense.
Shazier left the game with a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter, but the team has determined the injury was serious enough to have him rest the remainder of the contest but do not feel it will seriously impact future play. Already having a knee that has bothered him, Shazier confirmed that the injury was a shoulder ‘stinger’.
Ben Roethlisberger – was 21 of 27 passing for 369 yards, 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. His quarterback rating vs. the 49ers, a near-perfect 155.8. (A “perfect” quarterback rating is 158.3).
DeAngelo Williams – rushed the ball 20 times for 77 yards and 3 touchdowns, tying Willie Parker for rushing touchdowns in a game.
Antonio Brown – hauled in 9 receptions for 195 yards and one touchdown. Brown averaged 21.7 yards per reception on the day. He also continued his streak of consecutive games with 5 catches for 50 yards, extending it to 34 games.