Martavis Bryant: ‘I Didn’t Play To The Best Of My Ability’

There are few on the Pittsburgh Steelers who can sincerely hold their head up high after Sunday’s game and say that they did the best that they could on the field. Third-year wide receiver Martavis Bryant did not count himself among them in the contest during which he caught just two of eight official targets for 30 yards.

Bryant was coming off a big game from the week before in which he caught three passes for 91 yards and a touchdown, including a pair of explosive plays, a 51-yard bomb on a go route off of a defensive offside penalty and then a 27-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown on a slant.

The Steelers wanted to get back to that go ball immediately on Sunday, with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger firing one off on the first play of the game to Bryant, who got behind two defenders and was in position to bring in a well-thrown ball that he dropped. The pass was just a little bit long, but it was catchable.

“I feel like I didn’t play to the best of my ability”, he told Missi Matthews for the team’s website following the game. “I had my hands on the ball a couple times and couldn’t come up with the catch”. While he did not drop another of his other five failed targets, it was just a generally rough day all around.

“It was just a hard day for us”, he went on to tell the interviewer. “We lost, but you’ve just got to get back in the lab tomorrow and get better for next week”.

So far this season, in the three games that he has played since he has returned from what ended up being a year-long suspension, Bryant has only caught seven of 18 targets with two drops for 135 yards. While he is averaging 19.3 yards per reception, he is only averaging 7.5 yards per target, and 1.4 yards per route run.

Three games is still too small a sample size, however, to pass any sort of judgement, and we already saw what he could look like a week ago. The fact that such a high percentage of his targets are on deep passes this year is not doing his catch rate any favors.

He did say that he felt that the offense as a whole started to progress “we went no-huddle”, saying, “everything started coming along for us”. That led to the their first touchdown of the day, but they struggled in the second half, about which he said, “we just didn’t finish”.

Baltimore is a place that they have really struggled to finish lately. The Steelers have lost their last four games there, and that is where they are heading next. Will Bryant help turn things around there, both for himself and for the offense?

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Michael Mosgrove

    no kidding.

  • Edjhjr

    Another classic case of how 1,2 or 3 plays determine the game.

    He catches that, no fumble punt , no missed field goals, so the Steelers win, by what 10

  • StillersInThe6

    People were blasting Big Ben in the Winners/Losers article, which I guess is the easy/trendy thing to do, but I’m not sure anyone on the team had a worse game than MB. Okay, the deep ball wasn’t perfect, but show some damn effort man – sprawl out for it and dive if you need to, but I’m just left feeling he didn’t want it enough. And then the rest of the day he managed to get ZERO separation on some guy named Cooper or whoever. Like that CB looked like a pro-bowler stuck on MB’s hip all game and swatting pass after pass. For the athletic specimen that MB is, to struggle so mightily to get any separation is very concerning. I’m really hoping he can right this ship, and prove us he is the weapon we thought he was – we desperately need some WR support right now.

  • Rick McClelland

    It’s actually great to see MB taking responsibility like that. If he continues to think of his own play in that manner, I see nothing but an upward trend.


  • ThatGuy

    Perhaps, but he was probably thinking he could get to it and if he did that’s an untouched TD.

  • NCSteel

    No doubt, with a trip to Baltimore on tap, they have put themselves in a bad spot.
    Recognizing, like Martavis’ that they are underachieving and basically, stinking up the joints week to week is step 1.
    Step to is laying a smack down on the Ratbirds, ala Jacksonville.

    By the way LeVeon, I’mma need 15. As in some 15 yard runs.

  • Nathanael Dory

    yep I agree

  • Charles Mullins

    More than that. You don’t run as much as Chi did when your behind and Glennon wasnt winning the game for them. Punt really hurt us. I wouldn’t be surprised to see brown back there.

  • I know. He’s thought that before with the same results.

  • Mike C.

    Early in the game, I commented to a buddy that I can’t remember the last time he made a contested catch, or came down with a 50/50 ball, etc. He put on all of that muscle and doesn’t use it. If you can’t get separation, at least put your body in a better position to make the catch. The dbs had better position all day.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    He was awful, frankly. While one of the throws to him in the end zone was contested, he did little to come down with the ball and they used important snaps on those throws.

    He was a large reason the team lost imo.

  • NCSteel

    I’m really wanting to give Martavis the benefit of the doubt more than the others ’cause takin’ a year off has got to be hard. He dropped that TD yes,
    It happens.
    What should not happen is lack of effort and thats what you saw all day long. There was no sense of urgency from the offense.
    When does that narrative come to an end.

    You know, It was opposite for me this week.I was very detached at the end if the game, cool and analytical.
    After watching it again, I was struck by that lack of passion which was so evident in guys like Jordan Howard and Tarek Cohen on the other side. Their passion and intensity made the Steelers offense seem all the more lacking in contrast. That in turn, has me so disgusted this week as each day passes.

  • Christopher Marks

    That ball was perfectly placed for Bryant to catch it in stride. If you actually watch the play, Bryant makes his cut upfield going at a lackadaisical jogging pace. Then he notices the ball in the air and speeds up. If he had actually been running his route with effort its an easy in stride touchdown. Although even with his poorly run route he still should have laid out to catch it. And it wouldnt have even needed to be a full layout, just needed to be similar to his catch on the sideline on the free play last week where he caught it going to the ground. I hope Bryant gets taken to school this week for that play. It was bad.


    Yeah the Ratbirds definitely are struggling as well.
    Joe Cool had EIGHTEEN attempts!!! He’s rustler than our O is.
    If Brandon Williams doesn’t play for them I think we can really make some hay. Even if he does I like our chances against their anemic O.
    Steelers 17, Ratbirds 9.
    You heard it here first.

  • kdubs412

    I was disappointed they didn’t use him on any end arounds vs Chicago. It’s worked a lot in the past and it’s an easy way to get him involved.

  • ryan72384

    So I don’t know how many posts this off-season I said Bryant was going to be unstoppable and he’s an absolute force but I apologize. I’m a little disappointed with what we are seeing from. I thought with AB drawing so much attention MB would have about 4 or 5 sixty yard TDs by now. Our offense through 5 weeks last year minus the eagles game looked explosive with Sammie playing the role of deep threat. Come on Martavis start taking it to these number 2 corners!

  • John Pennington

    If MB is not playing up to his ability the question is why not.Whats the problem and how can or when will he start playing like he knows how.

  • NCSteel

    Ha ha ha!
    You got it.
    I heard it here first !