Diontae Johnson is non-stop chaos, and other Steelers thoughts
The Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver did a lot of good today, and also had some real head-scratchers.
Diontae Johnson is without a doubt the wildest player on the 2022 Pittsburgh Steelers.
Just non-stop, uncontrolled chaos that on any given play could produce a highlight reel moment, a game-changing catch, or just most ridiculous stupidity you could ever imagine.
We got all of that on Sunday in the Steelers’ 24-16 win over the Carolina Panthers.
On one hand, he did a lot of really good things.
He caught 10 passes for 98 yards, including a couple of big first downs in the second half (and a huge third down conversion in the fourth quarter). He is also regarded as one of the best route runners in the league and, according to advanced metrics, always seems to open.
But he also just does the most mind-numbing, maddening shit that makes you want to scream. The occasional drops, the catching the ball and then running backwards and giving up yardage, the pre-snap penalties, and also just the lack of situational awareness. He had two the latter moments on Sunday.
The first came in the third quarter after converting a first down to set the Steelers up with a first-and-goal inside the 10-yard line when he got flagged for taunting, and backed the Steelers up 15 yards. They still ended up scoring on the drive, so it did not cost them too much, but it easily could have. It’s the type of thing that just drives you nuts.
Then, on Carolina’s onside kick attempt in the closing seconds, he made the decision to try and dive on the ball even though it had not yet gone 10 yards and was not going to make the 10-yard distance to make it a live ball. But because he touched it, and did not recover it, it gave Carolina a free shot at it. Fortunately for him George Pickens was there to pounce on it to secure the win.
I still do not know what to make of Johnson. He has obvious ability, and he does make some plays, but he just seems to leave so many plays and yards on the field that it almost seems to be a detriment to the offense. At least if you are counting him to be the No. 1 guy and a big-money player. He seems better suited to be a No. 2, which makes the development of Pickens so important. That is the guy that is going to be your No. 1 in the future.
Some other thoughts from the Steelers’ win this week and beyond….
Protect the ball, you win the game
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