While good vibes were flowing in the Steelers locker room following their surprising 400-yard offensive output against the Bengals on Sunday, one Pittsburgh wideout had a lot to answer for.
A clip of Diontae Johnson went viral during the game which appeared to show the wide receiver refusing to block on a Jaylen Warren rushing play. Warren would eventually fumble the ball close to Johnson, who didn't make a recovery attempt.
Johnson didn't take responsibility for his poor effort after the game, telling the media that he didn't see the fumble. Important reminder: This came just one play after Johnson dropped a would-be touchdown pass from Kenny Pickett.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin addressed the elephant in the room
Mike Tomlin was asked about Johnson's effort level in his Tuesday press conference. While admitting that Diontae had some explaining to do, he also left Johnson's drama in the locker room, rather than exposing him to the media.
"We've got to take care of the ball," Tomlin said. "It is our desire. It's how we construct victory, so Jaylen's got to do a better job there. Diontae can't let the emotions of the previous down affect his next down, but I'll give him an opportunity to address that with you guys. I'll give him an opportunity to address that with his teammates. I'm not going to add any additional color."
Tomlin seems to be forcing Johnson into reconciling with his teammates, rather than benching him on the field. If any coach knows his locker room, it is Tomlin in Pittsburgh.
"I think plays like that are best described and outlined by those involved and less so by guys like me. I keep my attention on challenging things, things that await us this week. ... It's something that he needs to answer for, and so I'll give him an opportunity to do that. His teammates will give him an opportunity to do that, and I won't provide any color until he does," Tomlin continued.
Hopefully Johnson will have something to say for himself now that Tomlin has aired his dirty laundry.