We take a look at former Louisville football player Eli Rogers’ five best games for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2016 NFL season.
There are many football players that are watching the NFL playoffs at home this January, but that doesn’t include former Louisville football player Eli Rogers. He has come into a very-talented Steelers squad and had himself a very productive first season.
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Things will only get harder for Rogers this month, as they have to play the Patriots on Sunday, but that doesn’t mean they can’t pull of the upset.
With that being said, let’s take a look at Rogers’ five best games of the season:
Jan 1, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Eli Rogers (17) runs with the ball after a catch as Cleveland Browns inside linebacker Christian Kirksey (58) defends during the second half at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 27-24 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
5. 27-24 Win Over the Cleveland Browns
Eli Rogers Stats: 6 receptions, 61 receiving yards, and 10.1 yards per catch
This was going to be a game that didn’t really matter in the grand scheme of the season. The Steelers had already locked up their postseason spot and a win/loss wouldn’t have changed their seeding whatsoever.
On top of that, they decided to sit their best three football players: QB Ben Roethlisberger, WR Antonio Brown, and RB Le’Veon Bell.
This performance from Eli Rogers showed that he could still be productive, even when more coverage is focused on him. He was one of the Steelers only starting wide receivers on the field, which forced Cleveland to pay closer attention to Rogers than normal.
As you can see above, even with Landy Jones under center, Rogers still had a good day.
Dec 25, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Eli Rogers (17) runs the ball on an end-around as Baltimore Ravens free safety Lardarius Webb (21) defends during the first quarter at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 31-27. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
4. 31-27 Win Over The Baltimore Ravens
Eli Rogers Stats: 4 receptions, 84 receiving yards, and 21 yards per catch
The was the biggest game of the Steelers’ regular season and it’s not even close. It was this win over the Ravens that clinched a playoff spot and ensured they would at least play one home playoff game in January.
Eli Rogers helped Pittsburgh come down from losing in the second half, to overcoming Baltimore inside the final minutes of the game.
His 84 yard game against the Ravens was not only huge for the Steelers on Christmas Day, but it was also Rogers’ second-highest receiving game of his young NFL career.
Nov 13, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Eli Rogers (17) and wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) react after a touchdown by Brown against the Dallas Cowboys during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. Dallas won 35-30. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
3. 30-35 Loss To The Dallas Cowboys
Eli Rogers Stats: 4 receptions, 42 receiving yards, and one touchdown
This was just a heartbreaking loss for the Steelers, especially since this was their fourth straight loss. However, the good news is that they haven’t lost since.
Eli Rogers still had a day-to-remember against Dallas, as he scored his second career touchdown against one of the NFL’s most-popular franchises.
Everything for the Steelers happened to click after this close loss to Dallas back in November. They have now won nine games in-a-row and will be heading up to New England to face the New England Patriots on Sunday night.
Nov 6, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Eli Rogers (17) runs with the ball in the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
2. 14-21 Loss To The Baltimore Ravens
Eli Rogers Stats: 6 receptions, 103 receiving yards, and 17.2 yards per catch
I can almost guarantee you that this is a performance that Eli Rogers isn’t going to forget anytime soon. He finished the game with 103 yards and the the Steelers’ leading receiver against one of their biggest division-rivals.
This 100+ yard receiving game against the Ravens was the first of such kind for Eli Rogers, however Pittsburgh wasn’t able to pickup the win on this day.
Not to mention, this loss to the Ravens forced to two teams into a 4-4 tie for first place in the AFC North.
Dec 18, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Eli Rogers (17) scores a touchdown against Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Josh Shaw (26) during the second half at Paul Brown Stadium. The Steelers won 24-20. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
1. 24-20 Win Over The Cincinnati Bengals
Eli Rogers Stats: 5 receptions, 75 receiving yards, and one touchdown (Game-Winner)
This was a divisional game that the Steelers needed to win if they wanted to make a run towards the playoffs this season. The Steelers and Bengals met up in the postseason last year in Cincinnati and this was their first meeting in Paul Brown Stadium since that day.
Winning a game like this means more to fans that anything else, especially when they come down to the wire. The good news for Eli Rogers was that he caught the game-winner and gave the Steelers the lead for good.
It’s game like these that stick with fans for a long time. Just think about how you feel about Quentin Snider’s performance against Kentucky. I’m sure Steelers fans are extremely proud of their rookie wide receiver for that game.