PITTSBURGH -- Last Monday the Pittsburgh Steelers wallowed in pity as they looked ahead to "Redemption Sunday."
Well, they called the shot and this past Sunday night were redeemed.
Here are some quickhitters from a much happier Monday locker room this week on the South Side of town:
* David DeCastro admitted to having a bad day in Philadelphia from a personal perspective -- "Yeah, no question" -- and agreed that Sunday night's 43-16 win over the Kansas City Chiefs was redemptive.
"Definitely the result was," he said. "There's a better taste in your mouth."
But from a personal standpoint, how did the All-Pro respond to one of his poorer performances?
"I didn't approach it any different," DeCastro said. "You don't get down on yourself. It's in the back of your head, but you don't let it consume you. You come back and prepare like you always have. The older you get, the more you get used to working week by week and preparing just like every other week. That's how you should do it."
DeCastro said his performance Sunday night "for the most part was pretty good, obviously way better than last week."
It may have had something to do with the positive vibe the team received early from his favorite play of the game.
"Sammie catching the first go ball on the first series was awesome," DeCastro said. "It was a good way to start. You get a big play like that, it's a momentum changer."
* Sammie Coates made the third start of his career Sunday night, but the first with Markus Wheaton healthy. If that was an indication the coaching staff has confidence in the second-year WR, Coates aimed to make it stick by catching a 47-yard pass from Ben Roethlisberger on the first offensive snap.
And it wasn't just a go ball. Coates came back for it and then outjumped Chiefs No. 1 CB Marcus Peters to make the catch.
"It's either your ball or nobody's," Coates said of his pass-catching philosophy, which is similar to that of Martavis Bryant, the monstrously talented deep threat who's sitting out the season on suspension.
"Martavis is one of the best at running down deep balls. He's fast. He's big. He's huge," Coates said. "Me, I'm just trying to take advantage of my opportunity."
Coates caught six passes Sunday night for 79 yards -- and his average yards-per-catch fell. Coates entered the game leading the league with a 29.0 average. Right now he's fourth at 21.7 yards per catch.
Bryant averaged 21.1 his rookie season, and after two seasons his career average is 17.3.
* The young cornerbacks were quiet, and that of course is a good thing, particularly with the No. 3, the slot corner, (Sean Davis) out.
First-round pick Artie Burns was the No. 3 Sunday but played outside and forced Will Gay into the slot.
Justin Gilbert, cast off by the Cleveland Browns, was the sixth DB in the dime and also replaced first-time starting strong safety Jordan Dangerfield at times for a 4-corner/1-safety nickel.
"We've got a really talented group," said Ross Cockrell, one of the wise vets in only his second year with the team. "We've got a group of guys who are willing to learn, willing to grow, willing to do whatever it takes to be successful, and I think that hunger is where it starts. They have that and it's showing in their play."
Gilbert is hungry. He failed in Cleveland as the No. 8 pick of the draft. And failing in Cleveland is akin to being spit out the bottom of the food chain. But he's regaining his confidence here in Pittsburgh.
"In Cleveland I felt like I was pretty much just thrown in the fire," Gilbert said. "Here they allowed me to get the defense down, get comfortable, get familiar with it in practice and just go from there. That's maybe the biggest difference."
Burns was also hungry, but more this week from a redemption standpoint since his tackling the previous week in Philadelphia was atrocious. On Sunday night he made the tackle on the opening kickoff.
"That's one thing I definitely wanted to improve on," Burns said. "Going out there and showing I could really tackle was important to me."
Burns also broke up a pass that appeared destined to be a touchdown until he thrust his arm out without seeing the ball deep down the sideline.
"I felt it coming," he said. "After a while covering deep balls, you can feel when the ball's about to drop and just by reading the receiver's demeanor. So I knew when it was coming in and I reacted when it dropped."
* Le'Veon Bell returned to action after a three-game suspension and a mid-2015 injury to rush for 144 yards on 18 carries. He said he felt comfortable early on.
"After I was first tackled," said Bell. "I got a shovel pass and there wasn't really much there. I got a yard or two, but I was ready after that. I was like 'OK, everything feels normal' and I didn't even think about it after that."
As the score got out of hand, the cries for his removal rang through social media. The fans would hate to see him get injured unnecessarily. But Bell said "I was trying to stay in. I just wanted to play. I ain't played in so long. No, they had to pull me for real."
Bell said he avoided Mike Tomlin because he didn't want to answer any questions or make any eye contact.
"I was trying to have (RBs) Coach Saxon not talk to Coach Tomlin about taking me out. I just wanted to run in and was like, 'Don't say nothing to Coach T.' But they ended up pulling me out right after that first carry (of the penultimate series)."
Bell ripped off a 44-yard run with 7:29 remaining to put him over the 100-yard plateau. The Steelers scored two plays later, and Bell went out for the first play of the next series before getting the hook.
He said he loved everything about the game, especially lining up as a receiver four times with DeAngelo Williams in the backfield.
"I love it. I love it," Bell said. "And it's not even just catching the ball, but even when D-Will's at running back, just going in there and blocking the safety, because these dudes are hitting me all game so I want the opportunity to go hit them. I love doing everything and utilizing everything that I can do and keeping the defense off balance."
* David Johnson redeemed his entire career by returning to Pittsburgh after a two-year hiatus, and on Sunday night the tight end caught a short pass from Roethlisberger and scooted straight up the open middle of the field before wrapping both hands around the ball upon impact for a 26-yard gain. It led to the back-breaking fourth Steelers touchdown and a 29-0 halftime lead.
Does D.J. remember the last time he ran that far with the ball?
"Probably Baltimore my second year," Johnson said. "It was the game when Heath (Miller) and (Matt) Spaeth were hurt and me and (Isaac) Redman were playing. Remember that game when he caught the pass at the end of the game? He was twisting off everybody? Ben threw him a little short route and he scored. That game."
Late in the 2010 season, Redman scored a 9-yard touchdown to lift the Steelers to a 13-10 win over the Baltimore Ravens. Also in that game, Johnson caught a 25-yard pass, but it wasn't his career long, and neither was the 26-yarder Sunday night. In September of 2013, Johnson caught a 32-yarder against the Chicago Bears. He was injured two games later and done with his first go-around in Pittsburgh.
* B.J. Finney made his first career start against the team this Kansan's family and circle of friends grew up cheering. But Finney heard nothing but positives from those back home.
"My phone was going nuts all night," said Sunday's left guard. "I'm so thankful for the support of my friends and family."
Finney's mother and Chiefs-loving uncle made the trip to Pittsburgh, and watched him play well enough for Roethlisberger to compliment him during the QB's press conference.
"Anytime Ben gives anybody a compliment it's a big deal, so, yeah, I'll take it," Finney said. "But I was just doing my job and getting downfield and blocking so we could get a bigger play."
What about his uncle? Was he upset about the thrashing of his Chiefs?
"Oh, no, he was happy," Finney said. "Yeah, he was decked out in Pittsburgh gear and he was happy."
* Eli Rogers spent time last week in a walking boot and missed Sunday night's game with turf toe. But he was walking without any pain Monday, although he doesn't sound as if he's due back to practice.
"I'm walking a lot better than I was before and I feel much better than I did last week," said the first-year slot receiver. "There's a possibility I could play. There's always a possibility. We'll take it day by day."
Was he jealous of all the touchdowns being passed around to his buddies?
"Nah," he said. "I'm happy for my team. Reeeaaal happy we got that win. Three and one. It's a long road, a lot of opportunities. We want that Super Bowl. I want to win that Super Bowl. That's what I want."
* Tyler Matakevich might be a seventh-round rookie but he's already taken defensive snaps in addition to his duties as a core member of the special teams. And Sunday night he was paid a serious compliment.
"I got to meet Kevin Greene," Matakevich said of Sunday night's honoree. "Someone said to him 'This is Tyler' and he was like, 'Yeah, number 44.' Then before the game he was like, 'Hey, good luck, Tyler.'
"He's a Hall of Famer, one of the greats to ever play the game. Words really can't describe the feeling. It was such a special moment. To have the opportunity to hang out and talk with a Hall of Famer who knew who I was, that's honestly surreal."null