First, it was Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin beginning his postgame news conference by crediting Marlon Humphrey for his “big-time play.”
Soon after, guard David DeCastro was among the Steelers players who noted Humphrey’s “good technique” on his forced fumble in overtime that set up the winning field goal in the Baltimore Ravens’ 26-23 win against the Steelers.
A common theme was acknowledging the play Humphrey made — and not a miscue by JuJu Smith-Schuster in his fumble.
Though Smith-Schuster said he felt “terrible,” the Steelers receiver likewise tipped his cap to Humphrey, the Ravens’ former first-round pick cornerback.
“Marlon Humphrey, that’s what he does,” Smith-Schuster said. “He made a great play in a great situation, and he came through for his team.”
And for the second time over a span of seven Steelers regular-season games, Smith-Schuster did not come through with the ball in his hands late in a tight game. His fumble on the Steelers’ first possession of overtime Sunday was reminiscent of his fumble late during the fourth quarter of a Week 16 game last December at New Orleans.
Smith-Schuster said there wasn’t much he could do differently.
“Just protect the ball,” he said. “Squeeze it harder.”
JuJu explains The Fumble, how it happened and how he feels about it pic.twitter.com/f5beBJFgKc
— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) October 6, 2019
Smith-Schuster entered the weekend listed as questionable on the injury report because of a toe injury that has been bothering him since late in the season opener. He played Sunday, but he appeared to be hobbled at times and often was seen stretching his legs and feet/ankles.
Still, Smith-Schuster said his foot was “good.”
He finished with seven catches for 75 yards and a touchdown, a vast improvement in production from last week’s game when he had three catches for 15 yards. Still, his season totals of 24 catches for 333 yards are off his pace from 2018, his second NFL season when he finished with 111 receptions for 1,426 yards.