Production not enough for Coates


ROLLER-COASTER DAY:** WR Sammie Coates chose not to focus on his 139 yards receiving or his two touchdown catches against the Jets.

"That's part of my game, I'm supposed to do that," Coates said after the Steelers had handled the Jets, 31-13, on Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field. "I still left a lot on the field."

Multiple drops prevented Coates' first 100-yard game from becoming a monster game.

"I just know it was a lot," Coates said of the ones that got away.

He still managed to find the end zone for the first two times in his NFL career, including a 72-yard catch-and-run touchdown on a deep ball in the first quarter. In the process Coates became just the second player in Steelers' history with a catch of at least 40 yards in five consecutive games (Mike Wallace, six, 2011).

But Coates aspires to be consistent as well as combustible.

"I'm a young guy, still growing," he said. "I have a lot to learn. I'm growing every day. (QB) Ben (Roethlisberger) is getting trust in me, my offensive line, they're doing a great job trusting me and all my teammates trusting me, so I have to step up when they ask me to."

Roethlisberger thought it significant that Coates was able to bounce back from the drops and catch three passes, including one for a 5-yard touchdown, on the Steelers' second-to-last possession.

"He had some drops, some big drops for us, but he bounced back and that's the biggest thing," Roethlisberger said. "He cut his hand real bad, at halftime it needed stitches, and that's not easy for a receiver.

"He hurts as bad as anybody when he drops a ball. But I want him to know you asked for what number (of drops would be too many to maintain confidence in Coates), there is no number I'm going to come back to you, I believe in you. I believe in everybody on this team. And he showed why I should have that faith in him."

Added Coates: "It was a roller-coaster day. I dropped a few balls. I knew they were going to count on me to come back and that's what I did."


Game action from Week 5 against the New York Jets.

ME AND MY SHADOW:** CB Ross Cockrell spent almost all game following Jets WR Brandon Marshall, and Marshall finished with eight catches for 114 yards and a touchdown.

But the Jets only managed 13 points and the Steelers won the game.

"He's a big, physical receiver," Cockrell said of Marshall. "He played well. Our defense played well though, and I think that was the difference in the game."
The Jets targeted Marshall 15 times.

Cockrell was also flagged for pass interference and for holding (both were declined).

He had held Bengals WR A.J. Green to two catches for 38 yards on eight targets in the Steelers' 24-16 victory over Cincinnati on Sept. 18 at Heinz.

"It was definitely a tough test," Cockrell said of his matchup with Marshall. "That's life in the NFL, you're going to deal with guys like Antonio Brown, guys like Brandon Marshall almost every week. We'll look at the tape and I'll look and see how I can get better.

"But we played well as a defense and I'm happy about that."

One play Cockrell might review in particular is the 15-yard touchdown pass Marshall hauled down in the second quarter.

"He made a nice play in the end zone but nothing we can't correct," Cockrell said. "I definitely felt like I was in good position on that one."


BUSINESS AS USUAL:** C Maurkice Pouncey said he had so much confidence in Chris Hubbard that there was never a temptation to glance over at right tackle to see how Hubbard was faring in place of Marcus Gilbert and Ryan Harris.

"Heck no," Pouncey insisted. "(Hubbard's) been here a long time. He's an established guy, he just didn't get a lot of time to play.

"He went out and played (against the Jets) and showed y'all. He did a good job."

Added RG David DeCastro of Hubbard: "I thought he held up really well."

Hubbard had been with the Steelers since spending 2013 on the practice squad.
He played in one game in 2014 and seven in 2015 (as well as both of the Steelers' playoff games) but had never started at tackle until Sunday.

He admitted to feeling some nerves "the first time out there.

"After that, I got prepared and I was able to calm down and get into the groove of things," Hubbard said. "It feels great being able to know the plays and run them really well.

"Practice makes perfect."

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