Martavis Bryant is listed as questionable on the Steelers' injury report, but barring any issues over the weekend, expect the second-year wide receiver to fight through illness and finish the regular season Sunday at Cleveland.
Bryant could use a good performance to curb a slight late-season slide and punctuate a positive sophomore season. Bryant likely would have surpassed 1,000 receiving yards with a full 16-game slate. He’s got 765 yards in 10 games.
But Bryant doesn’t have a touchdown in his last three matchups despite scoring 15 in his first 17 NFL games. After averaging 89 yards per game in his first seven games, he's averaging 47 in his last three, which is a respectable number but far off his midseason pace.
Bryant's one-catch, 6-yard performance Sunday in Baltimore proved untimely. The Steelers needed their secondary options to win one-on-one matchups as the Ravens doubled Antonio Brown. Bryant had his sights on a big third-down gain in the final minutes while Pittsburgh was down 20-17, but Bryant’s feet got tangled with a Ravens cornerback deep downfield and the ball was incomplete.
Offensive coordinator Todd Haley said this week the Steelers “need more out of everybody,” including Bryant.
“Obviously teams know him, they recognize him a lot more than they had early on, but there’s still a number of opportunities given where we’ve got to make more plays,” Haley said. “You’re not going to make them all, but you have got to make some.”
Bryant has instant big-play ability, so he can break out at any time. Helping secure the win in Cleveland would be a good start.