Evaluating James Conner

Did that fumble negate Conner's big day?

Matt Koll
September 10, 2018 - 11:26 am
James Conner

Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan)- In his first NFL start, James Conner was a workhorse. 31 carries for 135 yards, 5 catches for 57 yards and 2 TD's.

But...

With the Steelers trying to sit on a 21-7 lead in the 4th quarter, Conner fumbled at the Steelers' 16 yard line allowing Cleveland's Jabrill Peppers to scoop the ball up and return it to the 1 yard line. A play later, running back Carlos Hyde punched it in to make it 21-14 and all of the sudden, the Cleveland comeback was on. 

So did that fumble leading to a touchdown negate all the good that Conner had done up to that point?

The Fan Morning Show discussed this on Monday and Colin Dunlap said that while many fans don't like to admit it because of how well Conner played otherwise, that play had great significance. If the Steelers get one more first down on that drive or even get stopped and get off a good punt, it's highly unlikely Cleveland comes back to tie the game. The Browns would have been down by two possessions with around seven minutes left at most with an offense that had struggled all day.

Neither Colin nor Chris Mack were willing to say that the Conner fumble completely ruined and undermined a near perfect day for him, but say it's OK to realize that turnover's significance. 

Both say that ultimately, Ben Roethlisberger is most to blame for the outcome. You can't have your quarterback turn the ball over five times and expect to win the game, even if it is the Brownies. 

Overall the confidence is still there in James Conner moving forward, how can it not be? Conner met expectations and more on Sunday by being a bruising, versatile force all game long.

But the guys wondered if Le'Veon Bell would have fumbled that ball in the same situation. Make no mistake, the Steelers paid dearly for the miscue and it is one the many reasons why they sit at 0-0-1 through the first week of the season. 

You can hear the conversation on The Fan Morning Show about James Conner's performance Sunday below. 

 

 

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