While he finished the game on the sideline with a shoulder injury, James Conner did enough before that to earn AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors for his performance in the Steelers 27-14 win over the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football.
Conner had 23 carries for 145 yards, a 6.3 average, and a nine-yard touchdown run and added three receptions for five yards.
"Unbelievable job," said Mason Rudolph. "He came out hot early and it really kind of sparked us as an offense. Coach (Mike) Tomlin has been talking all week about securing those 10-yard runs, and we need more of them. We're making ourselves more of a complete offense, and I think we really challenged our offensive line which had doing great in that area all week. James did a good job. He's playing up there at the top of the competition of running backs in this league. He's a physical guy. He really provided us with a spark."
It was Conner's first 100-yard game of the 2019 season, and the sixth of his career. The 145 yards rushing are the second-highest single-game total of his career, after rushing for 146 yards against the Cleveland Browns on Oct. 28, 2018. It was also his first game this season with 150+ yards from scrimmage, the fifth of his career. Conner has also now scored a rushing touchdown in four straight games.
Conner heads into this week on the team's injury report after Tomlin confirmed the shoulder injury, which could limit him in practice this week as the team prepares to host the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
"It is in the process of being evaluated right now as we speak, so I don't have a lot of information," said Tomlin. "One thing is for sure…it's going to limit him in the early portions of the week. James has played enough ball, and I'm starting to get comfortable with him so maybe it doesn't require a complete week of work in an effort for him to play, like it does for some younger players. We'll play it by ear, check his availability on a day to day basis and let that be our guide in terms of his (game) availability."
This is the second time Conner has won AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors in his career. He also won the honor in Week 8 of the 2018 season for his performance against the Browns when he recorded a career-high 146 yards. He was also named AFC Offensive Player of the Month in October 2018.
Conner is also nominated for the FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week. Fans can vote by clicking the link below.