Tomlin, Roethlisberger, Smith-Schuster All Detail Steelers Long TD Against Lions

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.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Villaneuva had to hold that block just long enough to let Ben get that puppy launched.

  • Todd Hall

    Martavis who?

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    This was probably my favorite Steelers play of the entire year. For multiple reasons:

    1) Rookies need plays like this to let them know they BELONG in the NFL. JuJu is a great kid with a great personality and everybody seems to love him and that’s great. But he’s also a really good football player. And I hope this play helps him realize that he has the skills to dominate at the NFL level.

    2) Huge confidence booster for Big Ben. For whatever reason, Ben has not looked like himself this year. He has been inaccurate. He’s been a little slow to process + make decisions + release. And (to me) he doesn’t look like he has that killer instinct of years past. He needs to know that he can still go on the road and win big games. Hopefully this helps him.

    3) It was smart. Ben saw something he could exploit. He instructed/prepared his receiver(s) accordingly. And then he carried out a specific play to perfection (on the fly). That is the type of adjustment that Brady and Bellichek typically make. Take what the defense is going you.

    4) It is a great reminder that combine speed is not always the same thing as football speed. It’s one of those weird laws of nature where you can “see” it but you can’t “prove” it. Some athletes just run faster when you put cleats and pads on them. A lot of draft analysts said JuJu would slip to the 2nd round (or later) because he lacked speed. I’m not saying he’s the next Tyreke Hill or anything. But he showed plenty of football speed tonight.

    5) This play gave us the W. I realize there were other plays necessary to seal the game. But this play essentially put us at 6-2 instead of 5-3.

  • Rick McClelland


  • Rick McClelland

    Almost like the Steeler draft room had a crystal ball telling them the future of MB when they pulled the trigger on taking JuJu.

  • Nolrog

    That may have been the best ball Ben threw all season.

  • Delboka

    Funny how MB talked trash to Coates about his depth spot. I know he was traded, but MB is riding the bench too.

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    Holy Crap! That was an impressive display. He could be the next gen Hines…a bigger version, a scrapper of a blocker and a weee bit faster and he can’t even drink yet. There is upside too!!!

  • FATCAT716

    Hopefully MB bounces back & can help us cuz he is needed but JuJu give comfort if he don’t

  • Jacob

    Juju is a strong dude who is only going to get stronger. His core strength may explain why running with pads on doesn’t slow him down like other receivers.

  • CountryClub

    NBC had a great replay of Ben flat out pointing the defense out to JuJu right before he snapped the ball.

  • Intense Camel

    It was, without question.

  • MC

    Great play. Did not think he was gonna make it to be honest but man he turned it on. Love seeing this kid perform week in and out, MB must be eating some humble pie right about now.
    Another play that really impressed me was the cross route where he stepped a linebacker and stiffarmed a DB for the first. Great possession play and YAC which is really going to help this team since they haven’t been too good over the middle as of late.