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Player of the Game

Ryan Shazier: Steelers Gab Player of the Game, Week 2


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’.


Honorable Mentions

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.


1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. DrGeorge

    September 22, 2015 at 8:59 am

    Call this a heretical idea.

    Everyone loves Shazier’s talent: his high motor, work ethic, football IQ, and his remarkable speed. He is everything this defense needs at that position, except durable. He is a beefed-up 230 on a light frame, and the pounding has already taken a toll on his knees and shoulder. Now for the heresy.

    I wonder if he might be better used to play man-to-man coverage on big tight ends, like Gronkowski, as a hybrid LB\ Safety, in much the same way Polamalu was used as a hybrid LB\Safety early in his career. If not this year, perhaps in 2016. The change would probably extend Shazier’s career, and it would solve a monumental problem for this defense in stopping big TEs over the middle and down the seam. Shazier has the speed and size to do it. Football has morphed into basketball on grass under Goodell’s “exuse me” pass coverage rules, and our secondary — unable to play zone or man-to-man consistently well — is struggling to adapt. Shazier could be part of the answer. A heretical notion, perhaps, but playing pass coverage in the traditional way is not working well either. If opponents are going to use basketball players as receivers, we need to play basketball defense.

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