With Cameron Heyward placed on injured reserve just 24 hours prior, the Steelers needed someone to step up on defense as they prepared to take on the Cleveland Browns.
Stephon Tuitt answered that call.
The best photos of DE Stephon Tuitt from the 2016 season.
Tuitt, no stranger to strong play, took it to the next level against the Browns in a 24-9 win, and as a result of his performance was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week.
Tuitt had a single-game career-high two and a half sacks for a loss of 16.5 yards, six tackles and four quarterback hurries, both season highs for him. He also had a bone-crushing hit on Josh McCown following a scramble by the Browns quarterback.
"It's about doing my job," said Tuitt. "I was just trying to give everything I have to my guys on the field. When those opportunities come, it's all about want-to. I don't ever want to be in a position where I feel like at the end of the season I didn't give it everything I have."
Tuitt also sang the praises of the entire defensive line, and defense as a whole, for stepping up when called upon.
"I'm very excited for our defensive line," said Tuitt after the game. "They stepped up big. They played some of their best football, better than they had been playing, as we all did. We had to play better because we have one of our best defensive players (Heyward) off the field."
Tuitt has 33 tackles on the season, three and a half sacks, nine quarterback pressures, and two forced fumbles.
Tuitt is the first Steelers' player to be named AFC Defensive Player of the Week since Troy Polamalu was in Week 12 of 2013.