Steelers deliver for Franco!

December 25th, 2022
by admin

On a frigid Pittsburgh night every Steelers fan in Pittsburgh got an early Christmas present as the Steelers rallied and beat the Oakland….ahem Las Vegas Raiders 13-10 on a fourth quarter comeback. It was hard not to think about Franco Harris as the Steelers pulled off the win.

Kenny Pickett looked a little rusty and adversely affected by the weather and he struggled most of the night, but when it counted most, he orchestrated a 10 play, 76-yard drive that resulted in the winning touchdown. It was a performance that would have made Franco smile. Pickett finished the day with 244 yards passing, a touchdown and one interception. What was most impressive was watching his maturation and the moment did not seem too big for him.

George Pickens just makes plays, and he did not disappoint Saturday night. He had five catches including the winning touchdown grab. Pat Friermuth made two spectacular catches and led the team with seven total for 66 yards and Diontae Johnson quietly put together a masterful performance hauling in five catches for 64 yards. It was clear the Raiders intended to stop the run and the receiving group stepped up and made the plays.

The Steelers struggled to run the ball, averaging just under four yards a carry, but they gained enough yards to keep running the ball and that helped them keep the offense balanced. Najee Harris struggled early but turned it on in the fourth quarter. He led the team with 53 yards rushing and he had three big catches on the game winning drive. Jaylen Warren contributed 23 yards on the ground. The running play of the night was Connor Heyward taking a tight end inside handoff for 21 yards to seal the victory! Overall, the running game did not find much room to run, but did enough to help pull out the win.

While the offensive line struggled to open up running lanes, they did a very good job in protection not yielding a sack and Maxx Crosby was held mostly in check. He was credited with four qb hits, but was neutralized on the last drive of the game.

Like any great Steelers v. Raiders game, the defense set the tone. Cam Heyward had a monster day and absolutely set the point of the attack, slowing the Raiders rushing attack down and recording two sacks. The Raiders finished with only 58 yards on the ground with Josh Jacobs being held to a paltry 44 yards. Larry Ogunjobi had a nice game up front and had four tackles. Robert Spillane led the team in total tackles with 12 and did a nice job slowing down the run. Alex Highsmith added a sack!

After a lousy opening drive, the secondary stepped up and made some very big plays. Minkah Fitzpatrick, Arthur Maulet and Cam Sutton all had interceptions. All were timely, especially Sutton’s outstanding catch that ended the Raiders final drive. Damontae Kazee did a nice job filling in for Steelers ironman Terrell Edmunds. Derek Carr finished with only 174-yards, and he turned the ball over three times.

Special Teams had another uneven performance. Even Chris Boswell is not immune anymore, he missed two field goals albeit on a difficult night to kick. The punt and kick return teams were non-factors.  One bright note, Pressley Harvin III had a nice night averaging over 46 yards per punt.

It was an emotional night with treacherous weather conditions. The Steelers had a great defensive game plan and were able to execute it.


My “GAME BEER” goes to: Cam “Steelhead” Heyward, who put on an absolute exhibition of Steelers toughness. He had two sacks, and completely led the team in shutting down the running game. Honorable Mention: Kenny Pickett who struggled most of the game but then rebounded nicely in leading the game winning drive.

Beer of the Game: Lighten Up by Long Island Farm Brewery, it is a local beer from where we live. On a side note, saw a person with a Primanti Brothers shirt and several Steelers fans when I picked it up.

“Steel the Snacks”: Christmas Eve was of course the Feast of the Seven Fishes, Italian style at my dad’s house, we needed to come home during half-time and it was fun listening to Bill Hillgrove and Craig Wolfley in the car on the ride home. We historically haven’t done well watching the game there so it was nice to pull out the win.

My Stat of the week:  Have to go with 13 points, the exact same number of points the Steelers scored on December 23, 1972. While the win wasn’t quite that dramatic, it was VERY important.

My Thoughts on next week: I find it funny that the Steelers were flexed out of primetime and now got flexed back into it. This time they will draw the Ravens. The Steelers let them off the hook last time, this time they need to close the show and bring home the victory.

Jersey of the Week: No Jersey this week again, went with my Steelers Cardigan and an Iron City Ugly Sweater.


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