The Pittsburgh Steelers demonstrated a dominating performance last Sunday in New York as they defeated the Buffalo Bills 23-16 in their 2021 season opener. The Steelers were counted out by just about everyone, but persevered from a 10-0 halftime deficit to outscore the Bills 23-6 in the second half to capture their first victory of the season. Many young players were thrown into the fire and performed far past expectations, but I want to chronicle one player in particular that really stood out – Cameron Sutton.
There was a huge question mark as to who was going to line up outside of Joe Haden once the Steelers cut Steven Nelson towards the end of free agency. The Steelers had already locked up Sutton prior to Nelson being cut, but many assumed they would keep him inside at slot after they let Mike Hilton walk in free agency. However, a huge wrench was thrown into the equation when Nelson left and question marks began to swirl around who would be able to replace a large hole left by Nelson.
Well, it appears all that worrying was for nothing because Sutton proved that he can play consistently on the outside. Sutton, according to PFF, finished with a grade of over 75, which ranked him in the top of the league in Week 1. Per PFF, not only was Sutton a top 6 corner in Week 1, but his teammate and running mate Haden was the #1 corner according to PFF. Haden’s grade of 85.1 ranked him just above Sutton and proves that this could be one of the best corner tandems in the league. Not only was Sutton tasked with guarding one of the top receivers in the NFL in Stefon Diggs, he rose to challenge and only allowed 3 catches while guarding Diggs. Sutton did give up the lone Bills touchdown, but he was in good position and Josh Allen made a great throw that most corners wouldn’t have been able to stop.
Highest-graded CBs Week 1
1️⃣. Joe Haden- 85.1
6️⃣. Cameron Sutton- 77.8
— PFF PIT Steelers (@PFF_Steelers) September 15, 2021
Sutton also showed up big on huge plays all throughout the game. Most notably was the fourth down tackle for loss Sutton had on a crucial play in which the Bills attempted a trick play. Sutton saw exactly what the Bills were attempting to do and recorded a 6 yard tackle for loss that gave the Steelers the ball at midfield and completely changed the momentum of the game. Sutton also had two pass break ups, with one coming on a third-down flea flicker that could’ve set the Bills up deep in Steelers territory. Fortunately for Sutton, he was in great position on Diggs and was able to deflect the pass and prevent a third down conversion.
Just can't credit Cameron Sutton enough for his performance against the Bills in Week 1. 4th and 1 stop. this was one of the plays of the game that turned the tide. #Steelers pic.twitter.com/cEZF11fIhm
— Tommy Jaggi (@TommyJaggi) September 13, 2021
If Sutton can improve upon his excellent Week 1, he could potentially take over Haden as the best corner for the Steelers and be a significant building block for the next few seasons.
Who was your unsung hero in Week 1? Sound off in the comment section below!