Top Performances From The First Half Of The Season - The Illustrated Edition

Updated: Nov 20, 2020

We are past the midway point of the 2020 NFL season, and few would have predicted that this year's Pittsburgh Steelers would be undefeated, considering the trials and tribulations they endured in 2019.

Their success this season was attributed to the moves made in the offseason, both through free agency and this year's NFL Draft. The return of future Hall of Fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, has been instrumental to say the least, in instilling leadership and stability to an offensive unit that sorely needed it last season.

So far, we have seen a bevy of incredible individual performances from several players on this year's roster. As we reach the final stretch of the season, here are the most notable performances from the midway point of the season.

Receiver Chase Claypool - Week 5 vs. Eagles

Prior to this breakout performance, rookie Chase Claypool showed extreme potential in previous games. In their second game of the season against the Denver Broncos, Claypool accounted for 88 yards on just three receptions; most notably, his 84-yard touchdown. Against the Philadelphia Eagles in week five, he was virtually unstoppable. In addition to his 110 receiving yards and three touchdowns, he rushed for a 6-yard touchdown. His four-touchdown performance gained him national attention, and established him as one of the top rookies of this year's draft class.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger - Week 10 vs. Bengals

Considering the circumstances leading up to their game against the Cincinnati Bengals, this was the most inspiring performance from a Steeler this season.

Roethlisberger started the week on the COVID/Reserve list and was forced to stay away from the facilities for five days. No training, no practicing, Roethlisberger reportedly took on the role of home schooling his children during the period. Despite only having one walkthrough session the day before, many would have expected Roethlisberger to struggle coming out of the gate on Sunday. Instead, he was even more efficient than ever, throwing touchdown passes to three different receivers. He put together his best performance of the season so far and showed that he continues to get better with time and unexpected rest.

Receiver Diontae Johnson - Week 10 vs. Bengals

It has been a season of peaks and valleys for second-year receiver Diontae Johnson. Against the Bengals however, Johnson showed the type of versatility that made in one of the top rookie receivers last season. Whether he was in the slot or outside, Johnson continuous beat opposing Bengals defensive backs in one-on-one situations. Before it even reached halftime, Johnson had accumulated over 100 receiving yards for the first time in his career. Even with the bevy of weapons at the receiver position, Johnson is arguably their most versatile, as showcased against the Bengals.

Running back Benny Snell Jr. - Week 1 vs. Giants

"Benny Snell Football" as we know it, was officially born in week one against the New Giants. As expected with any start of the season, the Pittsburgh Steelers got off to a bumpy start. By the second half, they took control of game, led by rushing attack of second-year running back Benny Snell Jr. He would finish the game with 113 rushing yards, the most by any running back on the roster so far this season.

Linebacker Robert Spillane - Week 8. vs Ravens

Robert Spillane is arguably the biggest revelations for the Steelers this season. Since losing linebacker Devin Bush Jr. for the season, he has been more than just a reserve player, he has been a difference-maker. After his coming out party the previous week against the Tennessee Titans, he accounted for the first touchdown of the game by intercepting Lamar Jackson. He was ubiquitous against the Ravens, making tackles in various spots and breaking up passes. With each game he plays, we see an evolution in his playmaking abilities.

Linebacker TJ Watt - Week 10 vs. Bengals

For a rookie quarterback, the daunting task of having to deal with linebacker TJ Watt, is enough to make one consider a new occupation. Bengals rookie quarterback Joe Burrow had never faced a linebacker like Watt in his young career, and when they faced each other, he learned why he is one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. Watt wreaked havoc in their backfield, accounting for two sacks, two tackles for loss, and four quarterback hits. For Watt, he is on pace to record double-digit sacks for a third straight season.

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