Martavis Bryant Totals Just 5 Yards Following Pregame Reports Of Bigger Role

Coming into today’s game, there were reports that the Pittsburgh Steelers had the intention of using wide receiver Martavis Bryant as a much more integrated piece of their offense than he had been up to this point in the season.

That is not exactly how things ended up going. In fact, he finished the game with just two touches for five yards, three of them coming on an end-around on the first play of the game. After that play, he was taken off the field. And then he was taken off the field once again a short time later.

In fact, according to Pro Football Focus, he spent quite a bit of the game on the sidelines, rather than on the field, contrary to a report by He Who Shall Not Be Named Who Is Not Tony Romo that suggested he would not be subbed out during the game.

PFF’s numbers have Bryant logging 36 snaps during the game out of 69 snaps. That is just more than half, and is actually more than JuJu Smith-Schuster this week, who played 32, which is in itself notable. Smith-Schuster had outsnapped the veteran in each of the previous four games.

But he wasn’t able to do much with the playing time given to him, and it’s really not clear why. Outside of the end-around to start the game, he was only targeted twice for the entire 60 minutes. He had a two-yard reception in the red zone, but later he was unable to locate the ball on a deep throw that fell harmlessly incomplete.

Where his head is, it’s hard to say. There were reports around this time a week ago that the former fourth-round draft pick had previously asked for the Steelers to seek a trade for his services, looking for a team in which he could be given a larger role.

Those reports were never substantiated—despite his girlfriend’s social media posts—and he went on the record to deny them himself, while his teammates insisted that they had a good laugh over the whole situation and how absurdly off-base it was.

But there is no doubt in my mind that he is frustrated, if not with the way that he is being used, then at least with his production. It is unambiguous that he has not broken out this season the way that he and many others expected him to.

Through seven games, Bryant has just 18 receptions for 233 yards and one touchdown, plus three carries for 23 yards. In the meantime, over the course of the past six games, Smith-Schuster now has 17 receptions for 231 yards and three touchdowns.

The Steelers have one game left before the bye week, at which point I would not be surprised if Bryant has a serious talk with his coaches about his role in the offense and why he has not been producing. But one thing is for sure, and that is that today’s pregame reports were comically wrong.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • pittfan

    Can I make the suggestion that we forgo reporting on what He Who Shall Not Be Named “tweets” until he starts showing he knows what the heck he’s talking about?

  • StillersInThe6

    It baffles me that he’s not even being used – just a waste of talent. If the guys out there dropping balls, or not blocking (showed some real effort blocking today on a couple of occasions) then I get why he may not get the PT, but he’s not really getting much of an opportunity. We don’t have any other receiver really with his skill set and it’s baffling that Ben forces balls to AB in the redzone and such when you have this freak you could try a fade or two once in a while..

  • T R

    good ole Ian Rappaport reports.

  • The Tony

    On the deep pass the Bryant, there was no reason why even though he didn’t locate the ball that he couldn’t have turned his head and tried to draw a penalty. Poor play all around.

  • Ryan Alderman

    Still not sure what happened on that deep ball, looked like it was there for hi.

  • Generic Steelers Fan

    I haven’t seen this kid make a bad play yet.

    The fact that his numbers are bad having nothing to do with talent or him being off from a calendar year. It’s HALEY’S fault and his horrible scheme.

    This kid should be the next randy moss, instead he’s more like sandy loss thanks to todd

  • Ryan Alderman

    Hard to argue…we’re winning games in dominant fashion everywhere but ultimately the scoreboard. Our offense is due for a major breakout, and this guy is certainly one of the keys.

  • hdogg48

    Whether he makes plays or not…because of his big play potential
    presence he takes a ton of heat off AB.

    He’s got to learn to run crisp intermediate routes to
    have more to show on the stat sheet.

  • StillersInThe6

    That will work against the likes of Cinci, Bmore, Cleveland, Vikings without Bradford, etc etc. We need our offense firing on all cylinders though for the POffs and it worries me that this guy is not involved. We have no dependable number 2 receiver right now.

  • StillersInThe6

    One thing I will say is that he seems to struggle getting separation at times. With that skillset you’d think he’d be much more open, more often. Maybe an indication of his route-running.

  • T R

    can be reason he not playing.. not getting open on one on ones and not locating the ball

  • Shannon Stephenson

    was going to say something similar…how do we know that he isnt the initial target but is not getting the seperation.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    not sure about that…Brown is double teamed and at times it seems triple teamed while Bryant cant seem to beat man to man….until he does that Brown will have a time getting open.

  • pittsburghjoe

    Maybe he is a bust? He has done pretty much nothing in the NFL. All we speak of is potential. I think the guy is a Sammy Coates with a little lipstick.

  • pittsburghjoe

    Maybe he is a bust. We need to start thinking about it about now.

  • pittfan

    Haley tells him to run crappy routes.

  • pittfan

    Maybe. He’s shown nothing to lead any rational fan to believe he can play at this level. Being out of football a whole year is no excuse.

  • Stevie D

    It’s seem to me Big Ben force the ball AB all the time when he’s not open. If Martavis not getting open how about giving him the opportunity to make play like AB. Seem like with the way Bell is running the ball some play action should work.

    If AB is getting double team, that should leave one on one coverage for Martavis.

  • dany

    Playing in Detroit’s dome might just be the remedy!

  • SouthernSteel

    Dropped the bomb on first play of game against Bears….

  • SouthernSteel

    Give him until the game after bye…if not producing then …time to allow him some medical marijuana

  • pittsburghjoe

    I think he may be deactivated if he throws a temper tantrum after this win.

  • Michael Cunningham

    He’s still fast
    I think it’s routes AND his route running
    If they are not crisp he will not be open, especially on intermediate routes
    That’s why it’s bubble screen or a bomb
    That is nothing but time and work to fix that

  • pittsburghjoe

    I think he is quitting…..

  • pittsburghjoe

    That won’t fix what’s between his ears. That is the problem.

  • pittsburghjoe

    Yes, indeed. Trade him to Detroit. Lol.

  • Darth Blount 47

    In the words of Vic DiBitetto… “MIND-BOGGLING!”

  • Darth Blount 47

    It will take Sammie Coates 20 years to accumulate as many TD’s as Bryant already has in his short career.

  • newguy68

    His time will come.

  • Mr jack

    Big Ben is holding Bryant back .He has a legit gripe

  • WilliamSekinger

    Because if both AB and Bryant are both covered, I’m throwing the ball to AB every time. At least AB can be trusted to either make a great play or make sure it’s not intercepted. Can’t say that about Bryant.

  • Zarbor

    Dude, stop sounding like an idiot with your rant. You are better than that. If you don’t like the kid just say so. How is he a bust when no one even knew him until he broke out in his first two season. He was a stud and made big plays for us or were you not a Steeler fan during that time?

    The fact of the matter is that they are not giving him enough plays to get him going. Just like they weren’t giving Bell enough touches to get going. Just like Eli Rogers who ain’t get much playing time on the field. They believe more in JuJu and see him as the future. Its that simple.

  • Jason Kelley

    I’m not a big fan of his right now, but Bryant has shown a good amount in his time in the NFL, especially for a fourth round pick. He’s a huge dummy, but he’s still put up 15 TDs in less than 2 full seasons worth of games.

  • AndyR34

    Would a quitter block like he has been? His blocking is better than ever.

  • Zarbor

    For the record, I 100% agree with Martavis. Its absolutely ridiculous for a guy of his size, speed and talent to hardly get the ball. His position coach has nothing but good things to say about him. Tomlin has made it clear that he is working hard and doing everything he is asked to do. He came in better shape and put on muscle to make “combat catches” the very thing Ben and others were critical of him before he got suspended. Now he is focused on football and he’s become the biggest decoy on the team. Shameful. Looks like he might need to punch a Gatorade jug as well. If this offense is going to be all it can be, it need Bryant to be deeply involve in making plays as he was doing several years ago.

    In the same breath, I also 100% disagree with the way Bryant is going about it. Grow up and be a man dude. Have a man to man talk with your QB, your offensive coordinator and head coach. Stay off social media and stay away from the regular media. Stop with the Ju-Ju comparison nonsense since you opened up with your silly comment that he is not your replacement but Sammie Coates. Now you are eating crow and have an attitude. Yes you are better than Ju-Ju but until you mature in your attitude, you will not be. Keep working, keep playing hard, you’ll get yours one way or another, this team or the next. See Eli Rogers if you need an example.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    QBs need to gain confidence with a receiver. Bryant has had his chances and he doesn’t fight for the ball – doesn’t ‘make’ the play.

    Had the ball hit him in the hands three times in that Bears game, one deep, two in the end zone and came down with none.

    Today, while he didn’t get a ton of touches, he did get a long ball where he was open – again nothing came if it.

  • Bill

    The problem that Bryant has is that Ben only has eyes for Brown!

  • Rocksolid20

    The question being , what have you done
    foe me lately ?

  • Rocksolid20

    And it keeps working ?!

  • heath miller

    rappaport is a moron… maybe he needs to go work in the white house … he’d probably feel right at home

  • nutty32

    Expectations are way too high for MB. Let’s not forget he was not a stud coming out of college, was a backup with the steelers to begin, then suspended after only a handful of games; albeit some big games. We all expect him to be Randy Moss or are disappointed. He’s got to be pressing and frustrated like his fantasy owners. Still have faith he will put up decent numbers down the stretch.

  • Bill

    Not so well: 10 targets, 4 catches, 65 yards.

  • Kevin Reich

    Any WR would be upset with the amount of targets.

  • Kevin Reich

    Sounds like a job for the Steelers Depot! Can’t tell from t.v. and I don’t have the film to analyze.

  • Kevin Reich

    Bad throw.

  • Kevin Reich

    You mean like the previous season that he played?

  • Jim McCarley

    Every play there’s only one ball and Ben wants AB to get it, most times…..That’s why he throws it to him even when he’s double and triple covered. There are other players open enough to garner more targets, but when you drop one or two , Ben stops looking your way. MB is big enough to go get balls, but he sometimes does not and let’s smaller dbs knock the ball away….he’s not very agile/quick either, imo. His best play is the deep ball and seems to not be open in the endzone at all and that’s where he should be dominating…he would be a different player today if not for the year long suspension, so what do the Steelers do? Put up with him until he turns in to who they think he is, or send him packing next year because he sure is not going anywhere this season…..Oh and ben and MB need to sit down and talk this out . Ben will not throw MB’s way if he continues to whine like this…like I said…there’s only one ball and as well as LB is running right now, the throws will get fewer and fewer and that’s the Steeler way…MB can live with that or whine every week until they tell him not to dress for a game or two until he changes his attitude ….

  • pittsburghjoe

    Well then, who is at fault? Ben or Haley. That’s about the only other 2 options. It really is much less personal than you may think.

  • Zarbor

    I’ve been hesitant but with each passing week it’s looking more like Haley