A season that started with Super Bowl aspirations ended without a playoff appearance. Despite a 7-2-1 start to the season, the Steelers were unable to make the playoffs after losing four out of their last six games. Pittsburgh finished the season with a 9-6-1 record while losing the AFC North division title to the Baltimore Ravens by a half game. Despite the disappointing season, the Steelers’ players remain determined in their goal of bringing the city of Pittsburgh another championship in 2019. Below are reactions from T.J. Watt, JuJu Smith-Schuster and other Pittsburgh players after their 2018 season officially ended.
T.J. Watt expressed his appreciation for Steeler Nation after the Steelers’ 2018 season came to a close. The future is certainly bright for Watt, who recorded a team best 13.0 sacks during his season NFL season, the most by a Pittsburgh linebacker since LaMarr Woodley recorded 13.5 sacks back in 2009. JuJu Smith-Schuster had a season to remember in 2018. JuJu earned team MVP honors this season as he led the team with 111 catches for 1,426 yards while scoring seven touchdowns.
Despite not making the playoffs for the first time in five years, Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said that he still believes that the Steelers, as currently constructed, as good enough to compete for a title in 2019.
Along with JuJu, T.J. Watt was Pittsburgh’s biggest Pro Bowl snub. The team’s 2017 No. 1 pick led the Steelers with 13.0 sacks this season, the most by a Pittsburgh player since James Harrison recorded a franchise record 16.0 sacks a decade earlier.
Fifth round pick Jaylen Samuels had a strong finish to his rookie season after getting barely any playing time during the first half of the 2018 campaign. Samuels, N.C. State’s career leader with 201 receptions, averaged 4.6 yards per carry this season. He also caught three touchdown passes.
After being injured for most of his rookie season, Cam Sutton bounced back to have a solid 2018 campaign. Sutton, who started in just one game this season, will look to compete for a starting job alongside fellow cornerback Joe Haden in 2019.
Mike Hilton completed his second full season for the season in 2018. This year, Hilton, signed by the Steelers in December of 2016, recorded 56 tackles to go with two fumble recoveries and eight passes defensed.
Mason Rudolph posted the following message on social media the morning after Pittsburgh was eliminated from postseason contention. Rudolph, the 76th overall pick in the draft, did not play in a regular season game during the 2018 season.
Pittsburgh receiver Eli Rogers spent most of 2018 rehabbing from a serious knee injury sustained during Pittsburgh’s 2017 playoff loss to Jacksonville. He returned in Week 15 and caught 12 of 14 targets for 79 yards in the team’s final three games. Pittsburgh outside Bud Dupree explained what he thinks went wrong in 2018. Dupree, Pittsburgh’s No. 1 pick in 2015, was tied for fourth on the team with 5.5 sacks this season.
Cam Heyward was asked about Bill Cowher’s comments about the Steelers being “too complacent” after a 7-2-1 start to the season. Cowher coached the Steelers from 1992-06.