JuJu Smith-Schuster was probably feeling pretty good Sunday night.
Not only did the Steelers knock off the Patriots to keep their playoff hopes alive, but the 22-year-old wide receiver was able to share a memorable moment with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick after Pittsburgh’s 17-10 win.
“Crazy to have Coach Belichick, a legendary coach I’ve watched my whole life, come up to me after the game and tell me he respects my game and how I play!!!” Smith-Schuster tweeted following the game.
Crazy to have Coach Belichick, a legendary coach I’ve watched my whole life, come up to me after the game and tell me he respects my game and how I play!!! ?????
— JuJu Smith-Schuster (@TeamJuJu) December 17, 2018
The 6-foot-1 wideout — who ranks sixth in the league in receiving yards (1,274) and in receptions (95) — didn’t have his best game against the Patriots, finishing with four catches on 10 targets for 40 yards. Tasked with marking Smith-Schuster, rookie cornerback J.C. Jackson fared well in the matchup.
“I just had to step up,” Jackson said. “That was my guy the whole game. I just had to do what’s best for my team and not let him catch the ball [and] be physical with him. That’s what I did all game.”
On 3rd-and-6 with the Patriots trailing 14-10 and two-and-a-half minutes remaining in the game, Jackson broke up a crucial 30-yard pass that was right on the hands of Smith-Schuster at the goal line. The Steelers had to settle for a field goal.
“He was giving me my credit, like ‘Good job, man. You’re going to be good,’ I was doing the same,” Jackson said of Smith-Schuster, who, as a rookie, posted six catches on six targets for 114 yards the last time the two teams met. “He’s good. He’s a good player, but I am, too.”