5 keys to the Steelers’ playoff future

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Dec 6, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant (10) runs after a catch as Indianapolis Colts free safety Dwight Lowery (L) defends during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

5. Keep Martavis Bryant involved in the offense

Antonio Brown may be the best receiver in the NFL, but second-year phenom Martavis Bryant must remain involved in the offense.

Bryant has exploded in Steeler victories this season. During the four wins in which Bryant has been present—he missed the first four games due to suspension—he’s averaged nearly five receptions, 115 yards and a touchdown in each of those games. The Clemson product has not eclipsed 100 yards receiving in any of the three Steeler losses during that stretch.

Bryant saw a massive spike in his targets against Seattle, but was only able to come up with five catches on 13 targets. He has not been a model of consistency this season, and some of his production decreases can be attributed to mistakes on his end.

However, to quote an old basketball proverb, shooters are gonna shoot. The same principle applies to Bryant. It is rare to find a receiver with his combination of size and speed in the NFL, and his ability to blow the top off the defense is relatively unmatched.

By some method or another, the Steelers need to get the ball into the hands of Bryant. Force-feeding Brown may work against teams like Indianapolis who rely heavily on man-to-man coverage from Vontae Davis, but it will not work against the likes of Denver and Cincinnati.

This is a dual-edged sword. Bryant needs to catch the football when he is open, but Roethlisberger also needs to find him because it is rare to see Bryant locked down.

Next: 4. Ryan Shazier must stay healthy