RYAN SHAZIERInside Linebacker
CINCINNATI – Nobody would have predicted that the Steelers would score just 18 points and then leave Paul Brown Stadium with a victory in the Wild Card Round, but that’s exactly what happened tonight. Coach Mike Tomlin preached all week about the importance of turnover ratio, and half of that always involves the defense’s ability to take the ball away. The Steelers had four takeaways, and Ryan Shazier
was responsible for two of those.
In addition to his two forced fumbles – one of which came in the final 96 seconds when the Steelers had to have a takeaway to have any chance to win and advance to the Divisional Round. Shazier and Jarvis Jones
forced the Jeremy Hill fumble that Ross Cockrell
recovered to start the final possession that ended with the field goal by Chris Boswell
that was the difference in the Steelers’ 18-16 victory.
Shazier finished the game with 13 tackles, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. He is the Steelers Digest
Player of the Week.
Right behind Shazier was Ben Roethlisberger
, who final stats would appear to be a pedestrian 18-of-31 for 229 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. But after being injured on a sack on the final play of the third quarter and missing several series, Roethlisberger was back on the field for the Steelers’ game-winning drive, and on that possession he completed 5-of-7 for 40 yards.
Also considered were Fitzgerald Toussaint
, who rushed 17 times for 58 yards and caught four passes for 60 more; Jordan Todman
, who carried 11 times for 65 yards; Chris Boswell, who was a perfect 4-for-4 on field goals in his first playoff game; Jarvis Jones, who had two tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble; and Cam Heyward, who had a tackle, a sack, two hits on the quarterback, and a forced fumble.