It's that time of year again folks, and I don't mean the holidays. Over the past few NFL seasons, our Pittsburgh Steelers have been fortunate enough to come face-to-face with the Indianapolis Colts multiple times. Whether the match-up be at home for Pittsburgh or away at Lucas Oil Stadium, the results have been the same; the Steelers absolutely own the Colts in every way.
We have seen quarterback Ben Roethlisberger play some of his very best games when battling the blue and white. The same can be said for Big Ben's favorite target, Antonio Brown. AB got himself a "hat-trick" last year on Thanksgiving day, torching the Colts secondary for three scores.
This week's Z-Factor is another player who has experienced similar levels of dominance facing the Colts, and this Sunday should be no different for him. It has been very well publicized that this week's Z-Factor has found himself in the "dog house" in recent weeks, but I believe that Martavis Bryant is primed for a big time performance this Sunday.
Bryant is the first player I've chosen as the Steelers' Z-Factor for a second time in a season, and with good reason. When I said that Martavis has experienced similar levels of dominance over the Colts as 'AB', I meant it. The fourth-year pro has played versus Indianapolis twice, and in those games he has hauled in 9 catches for 197 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Bryant is the perfect type of weapon to expose the Colts' secondary, or at least what's left of it. Indy has already lost their first round pick, center-fielding safety Malik Hooker, for the season with an injury. And just this week, Indianapolis cut ties with former pro bowl cornerback, Vontae Davis. To say this group is in "flux" would be putting it lightly. Hooker and Davis had already been out of the starting lineup for a couple games, but their backups haven't done a good job in filling their shoes. There are bound to be some communication break downs and blown coverages in that makeshift secondary, and Bryant can really take advantage of that with his big play ability.
Bryant was deactivated last week in Detroit due to his outbursts on social media and arguments he had with fans. Bryant seemed to take exception to this particular troll calling the Steelers rookie, Juju Smith-Schuster, "better" than him. Martavis couldn't bite his tongue, and lashed out on this so-called "fan". Bryant caused distraction and friction within his team, and therefore Mike Tomlin made the decision to sit him down, and a message was sent.
To be fair, Smith-Schuster has been one of the bright spots on the somewhat disappointing Steelers receiving offense. And in the midst of the drama, all Juju did was go out and nearly post 200 yards receiving in a single game.
Now it is Bryant's chance to show what he can bring, and what he has learned through this controversy. And the Steelers can once again show that this time of year is the perfect time to beat the Colts.