Pittsburgh Steelers rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster had a great first prime-time game of his career Sunday night on the road against the Detroit Lions and it was highlighted by a 97-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter. That play is now the longest touchdown passing play in franchise history and after the game, he, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and head coach Mike Tomlin all talked about it and how it happened.
“JuJu just got separation,” Tomlin said during his post-game press conference. “They were in two-deep, man under, which is often a call in that down and distance and he did a nice job of creating separation and making the throw easy for Ben and then the rest is academic.”
Tomlin was then asked if he knew Smith-Schuster had the kind of wheels needed to go the distance after he caught the pass.
“I dont know, man, he was weaving pretty good,” Tomlin joked.
During his post-game press conference, Roethlisberger gave a better description of what happened on Smith-Schuster’s long touchdown reception.
“They gave us a coverage where the safeties split wide and kind of a 22-man and JuJu had something similar to that earlier in the game and he tried to juke the guy and give him an out move and then go up,” Roethlisberger explained. “And I told him, I said, ‘Listen, next time you get that look, if it’s a 22-type-man, beat him with speed. Just get down there.’ And that’s what he did and [I] threw it over the top and I told him I didn’t know he had that much speed. He said he didn’t either.”
Finally, Smith-Schuster got his turn to talk about what happened on his long touchdown reception after the game was over.
“You see two high safeties, middle field open, you take it,” the Steelers rookie wide receiver said. “As soon as I caught it, I burst, I started picking up my legs and once I got past the first safety, missed him, and then the second guy went for my ankles, couldn’t get me down and I was like, man, I got this and I scored.”
According to Randall Liu, the NFL’s Senior Director of Football Communications, Smith-Schuster reached a max speed of 20.64 MPH on his 97-yard touchdown.
Smith-Schuster was aked after the game if he knows where he got the speed that allowed him to score on that play.
“I dont know,” Smith-Schuster said. “To be honest, the reason I kept looking back because on Madden my speed is like 82, 83. So I was like, ‘Nah, I think they’re going to catch me.’ And then next, you know, I pulled away and swerved to the right and I was able to get the touchdown.”
The rookie wide receiver was then asked if he knows what his speed on Madden should be now.
“I dont know,” he said. “I mean, after today, hopefully it will get boosted up.”
Alex Kozora will have a complete breakdown of Smith-Schuster’s record-setting touchdown catch in a soon-to-be-published post. In the meantime, here are a few gifs of the play.