Week 11 Z-Factor: Revenge game for Steelers' Sensabaugh? | Steel City Underground

Steel City Underground

Steelers cornerback Coty Sensabaugh defends Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton

Why does one seek revenge? Revenge is the action of inflicting harm on someone for a wrong suffered at their hands. In other words, payback. That's a funny term for this particular scenario in itself, "payback." Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback, Coty Sensabaugh, wanted to be paid back for the solid season he had in 2015, his best as a professional. The defensive back posted eight pass deflections and two interceptions in 15 starts. However, his former team let him hit the open market.

When an NFL team chooses to let a young player walk out the door, especially after their best season, you can bet that particular player takes that as an insult. The team is basically telling that player that they are not worth whatever the said player is asking for in negotiating meetings for a new deal. That former team who let Sensabaugh walk is none other than the Tennessee Titans.

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The Tennessee Titans are currently in first place in the AFC South division and pose as a formidable opponent for the also current first-place Pittsburgh Steelers (in the AFC North). The Titans do a lot of things well, but throwing the ball is not one of them. I like quarterback, Marcus Mariota as a player, but he's been in and out of the lineup while playing through some injury as well. As a result, the Titans pass attack has been inconsistent and for lack of a better term, bad. Tennessee is ranked 27th in pass yards per game, and their first-round pick, wide receiver Cory Davis, is still getting acclimated to the speed of the game after also battling injuries; although Davis did look decent last week.

Combine those facts with the news that Mariota banged his shoulder up in the Titans' last game, the formula is there for a defensive back to have a big day against him and Tennessee. Who better to have that performance than the former Titan himself, Coty Sensabaugh?

Sensabaugh was thrust into the starting lineup with the latest injury to cornerback Joe Haden. While I hope to see Haden return sooner rather than later, I believe the Steelers are comfortable and confident with Sensabaugh.

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Pittsburgh sought the cornerback out in free agency this past offseason after things didn't work out for him with the Los Angeles Rams. To make a long story short, the Rams ultimately cut Sensabaugh, who later latched on with the New York Giants and finished out the 2016 season strong. Fast forward to free agency 2017; Sensabaugh was one of the few signings the Steelers went out of their way to actually make. This might sound obvious, but the Steelers rarely sign anybody from outside the organization unless they feel very confident that player can help the team. They had a plan for Sensabaugh, and I believe this is it.

Last Sunday, Sensabaugh stepped in well for Haden, even breaking up a pass intended for T.Y. Hilton (see the header image to this article). Now the cornerback has gotten to practice with the starters, albeit a short week. Those reps still help. I'm assuming Sensabaugh has established a "groove" of sorts with the rest of the starting lineup in this short week, having been around the league and understanding the importance of preparation.

Titans head coach Mike Mularkey said this about Sensabaugh in his conference call:

I thought he was a good corner, played well for us. I know Coty, know him well. He is a good person. He was good for our team on and off the field, just the way he was in the community, for our team, how he represented it, the charitable things he did.

In the limited time he's been on the field with Pittsburgh this season, Sensabaugh had his best performance against the Colts in Week 10 with three tackles (three solo) and the pass defense against Hilton. If there was concern that Jacoby Brissett was going to target Sensabaugh and be able to let his receivers run all over him - it didn't happen.

This week, the opportunity is there for Sensabaugh to prove himself and his worth as a defensive back against the team that told him he wasn't worth their money, no less. It may not be about true revenge and more about paying back the Titans for doubting he was a solid enough player to keep on their roster. I feel really good about this week's Z-Factor making a positive impact for the Pittsburgh Steelers on their way to another win.

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