The ability to run the football figured to serve two purposes for the Steelers in their game against the New England Patriots. Beyond the advantages for the offense in terms of moving the ball and sustaining drives, running the football successfully also figured to play a significant role in keeping the Patriots offense – quarterbacked by Tom Brady – on the sideline where it’s impossible for that unit to be effective.
With James Conner out for the second game with an ankle injury, rookie Jaylen Samuels stepped up and filled the void in a way not many would have dared to predict. Samuels finished with 142 yards on 19 carries (7.5 average), and he also caught two passes for 30 yards, including one for 20 that converted a third-and-9 with 2:58 remaining in the game.
For his 172 yards from scrimmage, Samuels is the Steelers Digest Player of the Week.
Also considered were Joe Haden, who had 12 tackles, two passes defensed and an interception at the Pittsburgh 4-yard line in the fourth quarter; T.J. Watt, who had three tackles, one sack, and three hits on the quarterback; Cam Heyward, who had four tackles and two hits on the quarterback; and Stephon Tuitt, who had three tackles and two hits on the quarterback.