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Updated: 2 hours 38 min ago

Where would the Steelers be if it wasn't for Chris Boswell?

5 hours 22 min ago
Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images

Chris Boswell is one of the best kickers in the game, in an era where a good kicker is hard to come by

The NFL is in the midst of a kicking problem. Seemingly every week the league’s kickers are breaking records for the most missed field goals in a weekend. Extra points are being missed regularly, game-winning/tying shots are nowhere close, and flat out gimme field goals are being shanked.

It’s baffling to witness the fall of production from a position you would expect to maintain linear stats. But if you’re a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers you probably don't know or even realize this is a problem across the league. That’s because Steelers kicker Chris Boswell has consistently been one of the best kickers in all of football. I would go as far as saying he is easily the second best kicker in the sport, and if it wasn't for Justin Tucker doing the unthinkable kicking field goals, Boswell would get more recognition.

Chris Boswell NAILS the 52-yarder for the lead pic.twitter.com/xg0ym5sosf

— PFF PIT Steelers (@PFF_Steelers) October 18, 2021

Chris Boswell has won the Steelers more games than likely any of us realize. From that 2016 Wild Card game against the Bengals, in which he made 6 straight field goals, or even this past Sunday where he not only gave the Steelers the late lead on a 52-yard kick, but eventually won the game in overtime against the Seattle Seahawks. The fact of the matter is Boswell has been nothing short of excellent during his Steelers tenure.

Through 6 weeks of the 2021 season the ‘Wizard of Boz’ has hit 12/12 extra points and 11/12 field goals, including a Heinz Field record 56-yarder in the Steelers home opener, and if you didn't realize how impressive that is, Heinz Field is consistently the hardest stadium to kick in throughout the entire NFL.

Boswell has played a massive roll in all of the Steelers’ victories this year. In Week 1 against the Buffalo Bills, Boswell drilled a 45-yarder to put the Steelers up two scores, against the Denver Broncos Boswell again ended the oppositions hopes with a 49-yarder to put the Steelers up two scores with 2:29 to go, and against the Seattle Seahawks he gave the Steelers the lead with a 52-yarder with 1:30 remaining in the game before blasting a 37 yarder in overtime to push the Steelers to 3-3 on the season.

Chris Boswell is currently the 3rd most accurate kicker of all time pic.twitter.com/pEBTsviF2e

— dre (@_DreCapalot) October 11, 2021

The kicker has been incredibly clutch and has came up huge in every Steelers victory. Had the team had another one of these struggling kickers from around the NFL, who knows if the Steelers would have any wins at all right now. The fact is Chris Boswell is one of the best kickers in football and deserves some recognition for his efforts. If it wasn't for No. 9, the Steelers wouldn't be the team they are today, and Boswell has deserved the recognition for some time now.

Boz appreciation post pic.twitter.com/UOStmRpZFJ

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 18, 2021

But what do you think? Where would the Pittsburgh Steelers be if it wasn't for Chris Boswell? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Podcast: What does the OT win over Seattle tell us about the 2021 Steelers?

5 hours 27 min ago

In the latest episode of “Steelers Hangover” show, Bryan Anthony Davis, Tony Defeo and Shannon White look at the week that was and the Steelers going forward.

The Steelers beat the Seattle Seahawks in another tale of two halves and an overtime period thrown in. What can we gather about the team going into the bye after the Steelers’ performance against a depleted Seahawks team? In this show, Bryan Anthony Davis, Tony Defeo and Shannon White break down all things Steelers! Join the veteran trio as they analyze all things black-and-gold.

Check out the rundown of the show

  • News and Notes
  • What did the OT win over Seattle tell us about the 2021 Steelers?

and MUCH MORE!

If you haven’t heard, we have a YouTube channel, and the main reason for this is to increase the sound quality on our shows. But if you’re a visual learner you can watch the show below. Be sure to subscribe to our channel!

If you missed the live show, be sure to check out all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

If you’re old-school and just want the audio, you can listen to it in the player below.

Part 1

Part 2

Explaining the situation, and gaffe, at the end of regulation in Steelers vs. Seahawks

6 hours 57 min ago
Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers were winners in Week 6, but not without some serious questions around the end of regulation.

If you are someone who was able to watch the Pittsburgh Steelers defeat the Seattle Seahawks in Week 6 on Sunday Night Football, you probably have some questions about the sequence that took place at the end of regulation.

In case you forget, Geno Smith completed a pass to D.K. Metcalf, who, instead of running out of bounds to stop the clock, made a move inside where James Pierre forced a fumble. Seattle recovered the football and rushed the ball to midfield to try and spike the ball to stop the clock.

On NBC’s film it looked as if the Seahawks were slow, and the clock showed nothing but zeroes on it.

Then the whistles sounded.

Suddenly the head official said the previous play was under review for a completed pass.

Steelers Twitter was ablaze with confusion and angst over the Steelers getting potentially hosed by this review. Mike Tomlin was visibly angry on the sideline. For even the casual viewer, there was no doubt Metcalf caught the ball, made at last one “football move” before putting the ball on the turf.

This was the result of the stoppage, and 3 seconds were placed back on the clock. Enough time for Smith and the Seattle offense to spike the ball, and get the field goal unit out to send the game to overtime.

After the game everyone wanted to know what went wrong. How did the officials botch the call? Some even suggested there should have been a 10 second runoff, therefore ending the game.

Those who believe there should have been a runoff are just wrong. See below from the NFL’s official rulebook on resetting the game clock after a review, as well as what is required for there to be a 10-second run off.

ARTICLE 1. RESETTING GAME CLOCK

When a ruling is changed in replay, the clock status following review is determined by Rule 4-3, and the game clock will be reset to the time when the ball should have been declared dead. The game clock is not reset if the on-field ruling is not changed in replay.

ARTICLE 2. 10-SECOND RUNOFF

When a changed ruling results in a running clock for plays that begin after the two-minute warning, the clock is reset to the time when the play should have ended, and the clock will run for 10 seconds from the reset time. If less than 10 seconds remain in the half or the game, the half or the game is over.

Note: Neither team may decline a 10-second runoff under this Article, but either team can avoid the 10-second runoff by taking a charged team timeout. If the 10-second runoff is avoided, the game clock will be reset to the time when the play should have ended and will start on the snap.

In other words, since there was no change in the call, there is no 10-second runoff. For there to have been a runoff, the officials would have ruled the Metcalf play incomplete, which would have stopped the clock, only to have it reversed to a catch. In this instance, 10 seconds would have run off the clock.

We all know at this point how the game ended, but it didn’t mean Tomlin and company were happy with what went down.

“I just hated it.” Tomlin said after the game. “I cannot believe that game was stopped to confirm catch, no catch in that moment. That’s all I’m going to say.”

Of course, Tomlin was pressed on the issue.

“That’s all I’m going to say. It was an embarrassment.”

When you look at how the game unfolded in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter, the only thing the Steelers could be frustrated with was how the challenge gave the Seahawks more time to get their team in order before the end of the fourth quarter. The game clock, not the clock on the TV screen, clearly showed Geno Smith clock the ball with 1 second remaining. It would have meant the Seahawks had 40 seconds to get their kicking unit on the field for the game-tying kick. Something they did anyways after the officials put 3 seconds back on the clock, Seattle chose to clock the ball and then kick the field goal.

It was a weird challenge by the official in the booth, mainly because it was blatantly obvious Metcalf caught the football and then fumbled it, but it doesn’t seem as if the Seahawks ultimately benefited from the stoppage in play. Some may disagree and suggest the extra time was a big difference maker, but the fact remains it likely didn’t change the outcome.

Just be thankful the Steelers were able to find a way to win in overtime...

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they get some necessary rest and relaxation heading into their Week 7 bye week.

The Steelers offensive line tops their PFF grades in Week 6

7 hours 57 min ago
Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In the grades provided by PFF, three of the top five offensive spots belong to linemen.

The Pittsburgh Steelers started their first winning streak of the 2021 season in Week 6 and carry some momentum into their bye week. The offense had another solid week, and the defense dominated early and came up with splash plays late to finish things off in overtime.

But how did the individual players grade out?

For this exercise, we will be looking at the player grades from Pro Football Focus (PFF) for their Week 6 performance. These score are just from Sunday night’s game and not for the entire season. Before going any further, I must give the typical disclaimer that PFF grades are subjective. While some people rely on them heavily, others are quite skeptical of the process in which they are determined. It is completely up to each person as to how much stock they put into PFF’s grades. For me, I often look at the grades to see if my own “eye test” lines up with what others viewed as how a player performed. If nothing more, the grades create a discussion about how accurate, or inaccurate, they are each week.

Instead of looking at the entire team at once, we break up the scores into offense and defense. Next up this week is the offense. Included will be all the players who played at least one snap and the total snap counts for each player will be included. For reference sake, the Steelers played 75 snaps on offense in Week 6.

Overall

Top 5 (regardless of position)

TE Pat Freiermuth: 74.1 (45 snaps)
G Kevin Dotson: 70.0 (75 snaps)
WR James Washington: 69.9 (8 snaps)
G Trai Turner: 69.1 (75 snaps)
C Kendrick Green: 68.7 (75 snaps)

Bottom 5 (regardless of position)

TE Eric Ebron: 56.3 (34 snaps)
WR Ray-Ray McCloud: 55.0 (52 snaps)
OT Chuks Okorafor: 53.9 (75 snaps)
TE Zach Gentry: 53.6 (23 snaps)
WR Chase Claypool: 47.6 (63 snaps)

Quarterback

QB Ben Roethlisberger: 60.4 (75 snaps)

Keeping in mind that PFF has their standard score beginning at 60.0, Roethlisberger was scored as basically having an average performance. Not standing out as good or bad, which is what the score basically equates, is itself not necessarily good or bad. And if the Steelers can get a victory with Roethlisberger not have to carrying the team on his back, that is definitely not a bad thing.

Running Backs

RB Najee Harris: 67.0 (63 snaps)
RB Kalen Ballage: 65.9 (12 snaps)
FB Derek Watt: 59.2 (6 snaps)

One of the biggest notes from this list is the absence of Benny Snell. Whether or not it had to do with his early injury on special teams is speculation, but it was Kalen Ballage getting the additional carries and scoring almost as well as Najee Harris. Keeping in mind the same standard that was set when talking about Ben Roethlisberger, it appears both running backs performed above the line but nothing that jumps off the page when analyzing their scores.

Receivers

TE Pat Freiermuth: 74.1 (45 snaps)
WR James Washington: 69.9 (8 snaps)
WR Diontae Johnson: 63.4 (69 snaps)
TE Eric Ebron: 56.3 (34 snaps)
WR Ray-Ray McCloud: 55.0 (52 snaps)
TE Zach Gentry: 53.6 (23 snaps)
WR Chase Claypool: 47.6 (63 snaps)

These numbers of both grades and snaps probably tell a pretty good story about the Steelers game against the Seahawks. Pat Freiermuth continues to have the Steelers top offensive grade on the entire season, and Chase Claypool really struggled in this game. Additionally, James Washington hardly saw the field but made a positive contribution in his one target.

Offensive Line

G Kevin Dotson: 70.0 (75 snaps)
G Trai Turner: 69.1 (75 snaps)
C Kendrick Green: 68.7 (75 snaps)
OT Joe Haeg: 64.9 (16 snaps)
OT Dan Moore Jr.: 56.8 (59 snaps)
OT Chuks Okorafor: 53.9 (75 snaps)

Since the offensive line is generally only as good as its weakest link, it should be noted the score of the bottom player, in this case Chuks Okorafor, is the highest score of the bottom player so far this season. What is also interesting is it seems that rookies Dan Moore Jr. and Kendrick Green keep flip-flopping who has a better game and who struggles. In this case, it was Green who put forth the better numbers in Week 6, landing int he top five offensive scores for the team.

To further complicate the validity of PFF scoring, I want to point out an interesting irregularly from Week 6. What makes up an offensive lineman’s overall score is a pass blocking grade and a run blocking grade. Trai Turner had a better individual grade in both categories (84.5 for pass, 67.4 for run) than Kevin Dotson (76.5 for pass, 64.6 for run) but yet Dotson was given the better overall grade (70.0 to 69.1). The only other factor was Turner was attributed one penalty (a false start where he was not the only player) in the game. If one play, such as a penalty, can effect a score so much, why wasn’t a big positive play, such as T.J. Watt getting the strip sack to set up the game-winning field goal, more influential in his grade? Just something to think about.

So, what do you think of the above grades? Do they pass the eye test? Let us know your thoughts on the Steelers’ defensive grades in the comments below.

Podcast: The best of games and the worst of games (Who shined and who stunk?)

8 hours 27 min ago

Join BTSC’s newest podcast, From the Steelers Cutting Room Floor for weekly study of team and individual play.

The Steelers overtime win over Seattle in Week 6 was pure Dickensian. The game was a story of some Steelers playing great and other players faring badly. Welcome to From the Steelers Cutting Room Floor. Join BTSC’s Geoffrey Benedict for weekly player analysis as it pertains to the Men of Steel.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • The best of games and the worst of games. Who shined and who stunk?
  • and MUCH MORE!

Geoffrey walks you through everything you need to know regarding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Check out all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE
Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

You can listen to the show in the player below.

The Seahawks had the Steelers on the ropes, but T.J. Watt came to the rescue

9 hours 27 min ago
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Steelers appeared to be on the ropes at the end of their overtime game against the Seahawks. Fortunately, T.J. Watt came to the rescue just in time.

Maybe I was just being unrealistic, delusional, entitled, etc., but I kind of expected more than what I saw from the Steelers when they took on the Seahawks at Heinz Field on Sunday Night Football.

With Russell Wilson out with a finger injury, Geno Smith got the start at quarterback for Seattle. That’s an advantage for the defense, right?

With the Seahawks coming into the game with the worst defense in the NFL, at least statistically, that should have been an advantage for the Steelers offense, even with the unit’s horrific struggles over the first five games...right?

Things didn’t quite unfold as I hoped, and it was apparent right from the start, especially on offense, where Ben Roethlisberger and Co. failed to do much over the first quarter or so. Thankfully, the defense did its part early on and helped to force yet another punt-fest at Heinz Field.

The Steelers did mount two impressive drives to close out the second quarter—drives that resulted in actual touchdowns and everything—and took a 14-0 lead into halftime.

From there, it was just a matter of knocking the rest of the stuffing out of those seabirds and calling it a night, right?

Someone forgot to mention this to the Steelers defense, but maybe that’s because it was mostly being propped up by four players—T.J. Watt, Cam Heyward, Alex Highsmith and, yes, rookie Tre Norwood, who has yet to meet a moment that’s too big for him.

As for the rest of the defense? It played most of the second half as if the moment was a new shirt bought by an aunt who lives out of town and is clueless about kids’ sizes—in other words, way too big. I’m talking about missed tackles, missed tackles and more missed tackles.

Ultimately, a 14-0 halftime lead turned into a 17-17 tie by the fourth quarter. It may not have gotten to that point had Roethlisberger and the rest of the Steelers’ offense been able to build on the end of the second quarter.

Instead, Matt Canada’s unit seemed intent on building on its first four games when yards and points were mere theories more than anything.

Fortunately, the offense did manage a scoring drive near the end of the fourth quarter, one that resulted in a 52-yard field goal by Chris “What the Heck Was I Smoking in 2018?” Boswell to give Pittsburgh a 20-17 lead with just 1:30 left in regulation.

This was when the defense stepped up and snuffed out Seattle’s last chance, right? The defense stepped in something, but it wasn’t success, I can tell you that. Smith almost effortlessly orchestrated a drive that took his offense from his 25 to their 25 in about 80 seconds.

Sure, there was that weird replay thing where a catch by D.K. Metcalf was reviewed for some reason, but this all happened after Smith had clearly spiked the football with one second left in regulation. Why was head coach Mike Tomlin so incensed? What advantage did this give Seattle’s kicker, Jason Myers, as he prepared to attempt a 43-yard field goal on the final play of the fourth quarter? Was Tomlin upset that the kicker had too much time to get ready? Aren’t coaches always calling timeouts in that situation in an effort to ice the kicker? It isn’t as if Myers and the rest of Seattle’s special teamers would have had to frantically sprint out and attempt the kick against a running game clock. Again, Smith had clearly spiked the ball with one second left.

Anyway, Myers kick was true, and I can’t speak for anyone else, but I had a bad, bad feeling after Seattle won the toss in overtime.

But here were Seattle’s final two offensive plays in extra time: Third and four from the Pittsburgh 45: 13-yard sack by Watt. (Punt.) First and 10 from the Seattle 15: Watt strip-sack, recovered by Devin Bush. (Steelers ball at the Seattle 16.)

From there, it was just a matter of Boswell not pulling a 2018 while attempting a 37-yard game-winning field goal (he didn’t).

Watt had almost single-handedly rescued the Steelers from the jaws of defeat and secured a 23-20 victory.

As they head into their bye with a 3-3 record, where do the Steelers go from here?

That remains unclear, but T.J. Watt likely saved us all from two weeks of Joe Haden trade talk, that’s for sure.

That man is worth every penny.

Tre Norwood comes up huge in Week 6 according to PFF grades

10 hours 27 min ago
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

In the grades provided by PFF, Norwood edged out Cam Heyward for the top overall grade for the Steelers on defense.

The Pittsburgh Steelers started their first winning streak of the 2021 season in Week 6 and carry some momentum into their bye week. The offense had another solid week, and the defense dominated early and came up with splash plays late to finish things off in overtime.

But how did the individual players grade out?

For this exercise, we will be looking at the player grades from Pro Football Focus (PFF) for their Week 6 performance. These score are just from Sunday night’s game and not for the entire season. Before going any further, I must give the typical disclaimer that PFF grades are subjective. While some people rely on them heavily, others are quite skeptical of the process in which they are determined. It is completely up to each person as to how much stock they put into PFF’s grades. For me, I often look at the grades to see if my own “eye test” lines up with what others viewed as how a player performed. If nothing more, the grades create a discussion about how accurate, or inaccurate, they are each week.

Instead of looking at the entire team at once, we break up the scores into offense and defense. First up is the defense. Included will be all the players who played at least one snap and the total snap counts for each player will be included. For reference sake, the Steelers played 65 snaps on defense in Week 6.

Overall

Top 5 (regardless of position)

CB Tre Norwood: 92.9 (15 snaps)
DT Cam Heyward: 90.0 (58 snaps)
DT Isaiahh Loudermilk: 74.2 (8 snaps)
DT Chris Wormley: 72.2 (45 snaps)
OLB Alex Highsmith: 72.0 (65 snaps)

Bottom 5 (regardless of position)

ILB Joe Schobert: 53.9 (50 snaps)
DT Henry Mondeaux: 52.9 (19 snaps)
ILB Robert Spillane: 52.6 (10 snaps)
S Terrell Edmunds: 49.1 (65 snaps)
DT Isaiah Buggs: 32.6 (15 snaps)

Defensive Front Seven

DT Cam Heyward: 90.0 (58 snaps)
DT Isaiahh Loudermilk: 74.2 (8 snaps)
DT Chris Wormley: 72.2 (45 snaps)
OLB Alex Highsmith: 72.0 (65 snaps)
OLB T.J. Watt: 70.9 (56 snaps)
OLB Melvin Ingram III: 68.2 (17 snaps)
DT Henry Mondeaux: 52.9 (19 snaps)
DT Isaiah Buggs: 32.6 (15 snaps)

It was this position group which led the way for the Steelers as six in the top eight scores came from the defensive front. Cameron Heyward continues to dominate and still has the highest defensive grade in the league through the first six weeks of the NFL season. Some might be surprised that T.J. Watt landed in the middle of the pack, but PFF does not weight their scores for either how big of a play it was or when it came in the game. So while Watt came up huge in overtime, those plays were not considered any more than ones in the first quarter. Seeing Isaiah Buggs as the lowest graded player on defense was discouraging, especially with a team low 29.3 run defense grade.

Inside Linebackers

ILB Devin Bush: 56.1 (55 snaps)
ILB Joe Schobert: 53.9 (50 snaps)
ILB Robert Spillane: 52.6 (10 snaps)

After seeing some high scores, especially by Devin Bush, in Week 5, the inside linebackers came back down to reality. While the scores are not that low, they definitely fit more into the ‘average’ category. With nobody really standing out in any way, it was Bush’s low run defense score of 29.9 which affected him negatively while he had the second-highest coverage score of 77.2 which ultimately landed his overall score in the middle.

Defensive Backs

CB Tre Norwood: 92.9 (15 snaps)
CB James Pierre: 71.8 (14 snaps)
CB Arthur Maulet: 62.5 (28 snaps)
CB Joe Haden: 59.3 (65 snaps)
S Minkah Fitzpatrick: 58.6 (65 snaps)
CB Cam Sutton: 55.8 (65 snaps)
S Terrell Edmunds: 49.1 (65 snaps)

What Steelers fan saw with their eyes during the game is what they also see now with Tre Norwood’s PFF score. With a 92.3 coverage score, Norwood has the second-highest coverage score in the NFL for Week 6 only behind Isaiah Rodgers of the Colts. James Pierre and Arthur Maulet continue to be towards the top of the position group in their subpackage roles, while Terrell Edmunds had one of his lowest scores of the season.

So, what do you think of the above grades? Do they pass the eye test? Let us know your thoughts on the Steelers’ defensive grades in the comments below.

Stock Report: See whose stock is rising or falling after the win over the Seahawks

11 hours 27 min ago
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Taking a look at what direction Steelers stock is trending after another must win game prior to their bye week, a overtime win over the Seattle Seahawks.

Two steps forward, three steps back. It seems as if every time the Steelers appear to find some answers, more questions immediately pop up. The questions are numerous for this Steelers squad, and the questions are constantly changing. That sounds strangely familiar for some reason.

The Steelers offense struggled at times to consistently move the ball against the Seahawks, who came into the game statistically as one of the worst defenses in the NFL. The Seahawks interior defensive lineman disrupted the Steelers rushing attack by clogging up the running lanes, which has become a common occurrence against four man fronts.

Najee Harris found room to roam hard to come by in the early portion of the game, but enjoyed more productive runs as the game progressed after he stopped trying to set up big plays every carry and reverted to his more traditional power style. He couldn't continue to display patience with the offensive line struggling to execute their assignments.

The Steelers were hoping to build off the momentum of last week's victory over the Broncos, especially the confidence building performance of the offensive line, but any additional progress against the Seahawks was negligible at best, especially in light of the level of the competition. Although there are potential answers to some issues, more questions remain.

Steelers Stock Trending Upward: T.J. Watt

In a career already filled with extraordinary performances, Watt enjoyed a couple of breakout moments when they mattered most. In overtime, facing a must win situation during a primetime telecast, Watt made the biggest plays at the most opportune moments to win the game.

For the first time in his illustrious career, Watt came through in the clutch when it mattered the most, with the undivided attention of a nation of football fans tuning in. That has long been the one missing attribute to his multiple DPOY campaigns, where he is always the bridesmaid but never the bride.

Watt was good in regulation, but otherworldly in the overtime period. He registered both his sacks when they mattered most, none bigger than his strip sack of Geno Smith that set up the game winning field goal.

I have been one of Watt's harshest critics in the past, pointing out how he has always failed to produce outcome changing moments late in games. The type of plays that former Steelers DPOY winners James Harrison and Troy Polamalu made with regularity. T.J. Watt has finally added that final piece to his impressive resume. Broken through the glass ceiling so to speak. I think it safe to say, with the monkey finally removed from his back, repeat performances in crunch time should be expected.

Although T.J. Watt was the Steelers star that shined the brightest against the Seahawks, there were 3 other fellow defenders that definitely earned honorable mention. Cameron Heyward, Alex Highsmith, and Tre Norwood all produced standout performances.

Heyward continues to be the best defensive tackle in the NFL not named Aaron Donald. Heyward is arguably having his best season, and I wholeheartedly believe he is the strongest defender in the league.

Highsmith has been dealing with a nagging groin injury all season, but he played like the dominant edge rusher on Sunday night that he resembled throughout the preseason and training camp. He has been an excellent run stopper all season, but had failed to register a sack or even a QB hit, due mainly to his explosion being compromised by the aforementioned injury. He enjoyed a breakout performance, finishing with 1.5 sacks after spending much of the game in the opposition's backfield.

Tre Norwood was only credited with 3 total tackles in his limited defensive snaps, but all 3 were TFLs at key moments in the game. As Coach Tomlin recently stated, the moment never seems too big for the instinctual and intelligent young man.

Steelers Stock Trending Downward: Tackling

I am not sure about you, but I started having flashbacks of the two Jacksonville Jaguars games back in 2017 during the third quarter Sunday night. It's been a few years since a team successfully ran the football seemingly at will against the Steelers defense. One things for sure, it's no fun reminiscing about those not so good old days.

The Steelers have invested huge money and draft capital since then in a concerted effort to make sure a repeat of those dark days never occur again anytime soon. The truth is injuries happen, and are part of the cost of doing business. They are impossible to predict or avoid. Some of those injured are much easier to replace than others, but the show must go on.

The Seahawks ran the ball repeatedly and successfully; especially in the third quarter, directly at Isaiah Buggs and Chris Wormley, two depth players trying their best to replace their far more talented and accomplished predecessors. They were not up to the task at hand.

Buggs and Wormley struggled to tie up blockers effectively, therefore they were unable to keep the Steelers inside linebackers clean and able to flow to the ball. The Steelers run defense improved substantially whenever rookie DL Isaiahh Loudermilk was inserted into the game. His quality performance against the run definitely earned him extended snaps moving forward.

The main issue plaguing the Steelers defense during the disastrous third quarter was a startling inability to tackle. The sudden ailment struck both inside linebackers and the whole starting secondary at the same time. Truthfully, it was the worst display of tackling fundamentals by the Steelers since that 2017 season. I have a theory about why that might have happened.

The Steelers experienced a heartbreaking roller coaster of a week leading up to the second must win game in a row, with the tragic news that inside linebackers coach Jerry Olsavsky's wife passed away unexpectedly.

Then the Steelers had to refocus on the task at hand, preparing to play the Seahawks on Sunday Night Football. There were Steelers legends throughout the facilities, including the most recent HOF inductees scheduled to receive their enshrinement rings on the field at halftime. The truth is current Steelers players gain inspiration from having so many Steelers legends in attendance.

The Steelers defense was fired up to start the game, and they were dominant in the first half. They came out of the locker room obviously flat after experiencing an unavoidable emotional letdown at halftime.

The dismal tackling to start the second half was a direct byproduct of the lack of intensity from the Steelers defense, playing a fired up Seahawks team facing their own must win scenario. Momentum is hard to quantify, but impossible to ignore. Once you lose it, it's hard to get back.

Poor tackling hasn't been an issue for a Steelers defense thus far this season. Based on the circumstances leading up those struggles, I don't believe tackling will continue to be an issue moving forward.

Najee Harris talks how Ben Roethlisberger is “more than a leader” for the Steelers

12 hours 27 min ago
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers star rookie running back knows how important Ben Roethlisberger is to the team and organization.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were winners in Week 6 after beating the Seattle Seahawks in Week 6, and a large reason for their second straight win has been the play of running back Najee Harris.

Following the game, Harris joined Rodney Harrison and Jac Collinsworth to discuss his play in the game on prime time. His first reaction? The Seattle defense was good.

“That’s a good defense, man!” Harris said of the Seahawks defense.

But to be more specific, Harris recalled when he met Jamal Adams in the hole, and Adams got the best of the former Alabama running back.

“When Jamal Adams came and rung my bell, I had to get up and just say, “Good hit man.”” Harris recalled. “Rung my bell, but that’s the kind of football I like.”

Harris was then asked about Ben Roethlisberger, and what he means to him as a player and as a leader.

“It starts with Ben. Coming in, being in a new place, new program, and me being a rookie Ben took me under his shoulder and led me. Showed me the way and how it is with the Pittsburgh pride.

“Ben has been more than a leader. He has been like a big brother to me, and how things are and what he expects from me. Every game he brings me in and tells me stuff, and what he sees and what I can work on. Ben’s the leader, of course.”

On top of that, Harris tells a rather funny story of an interaction he had with Mike Tomlin after the team’s Week 1 win over the Buffalo Bills. Disappointed with his performance, he asked Tomlin if he could watch film with him and see what he needs to improve upon moving forward.

Tomlin said no.

He went on to talk about how Tomlin said both he, and the organization, believes in him and he’ll be just fine. The 5 minute interview is a great watch, and one all Steelers fans will enjoy. You can watch the full interview below:

If you can’t view the video above, click HERE to watch.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes as the Steelers head into the bye week and get some much needed rest and recovery.

Browns dealing with significant injuries which will impact Week 8 Steelers game

13 hours 27 min ago
Jeff Lange / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Browns are preparing for Thursday Night Football, and several big name players will miss that game, and the Week 8 game vs. the Steelers in Cleveland.

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ injury report has been lengthy at times, but nothing compared to the Cleveland Browns. As the Browns head into a Thursday Night Football game vs. the Denver Broncos by Lake Eerie, they had a whopping 20 players on their injury report.

This isn’t an article based on the Browns’ upcoming injury report, but more to highlight two key injuries which will have players missing the Week 8 game vs. the Steelers. When Kevin Stefanski, Browns’ head coach, met with media Monday, he said both running back Kareem Hunt and rookie linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (JOK) will miss multiple weeks, including the Week 8 game.

Browns’ HC Kevin Stefanski Stefanski also said on Zoom call today that, not only will RB Kareem Hunt miss multiple weeks with his calf injury, but LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah will as well.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 18, 2021

The Browns could also be without Nick Chubb on Thursday night, but the shoulder injury to Baker Mayfield’s non-throwing shoulder is also a cause for concern for the Cleveland Browns. Reports state Mayfield could play through the pain, but the injury could worsen and eventually effect his throwing mechanics.

Not that the Steelers are hoping to face a weaker Browns squad coming off their bye week, there is no doubt the Steelers are just focused on winning their next game. Whoever lines up across from them, so be it.

If the Steelers are able to go into Week 8 and beat the Browns, it won’t just improve their record to 4-3, but would catapult them above Cleveland in the AFC North standings. The Steelers have only played one divisional game so far, a loss vs. the Cincinnati Bengals, and with 11 games remaining there is plenty of football left to be played. A log can change in just the course of a week.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they head into their bye week and eventually prepare for the Browns in Week 8.

Podcast: Can the Steelers claw into the playoffs?

14 hours 57 min ago

In the latest podcast on the BTSC family of podcasts, we talk about some burning topics surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

When the Steelers were at .500, the playoffs seemed light years away for the Men of Steel in 2021. With their record now at 3-3, this black-and-gold work in progress might just have to fight and claw to get in the postseason. Is this team capable of the task? Join BTSC Deputy Editor Michael Beck on the latest edition of The Live Mike as he helps Steeler Nation navigate through the 2021 season and beyond.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • Examining the Steelers playoff chances after a 3-3 start
  • and MUCH MORE!

Michael Beck of BTSC walks you through everything you need to know regarding the Men of Steel.

Check out all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE
Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

You can listen to the show in the player below.

Bills vs. Titans: Monday Night Football Open Thread

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 7:20pm
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Tune in and join the conversation for the final game of Week 6.

The Steelers scrapped and clawed their way to a Week 6 win against the Seattle Seahawks and now find themselves back even on the season heading into the bye week. It wasn’t a pretty win but a win non the less. Maybe Coach Tomlin will take them to a theme park to do some team bonding during the bye week. How about that TJ Watt fellow?

The Monday Night match involves two AFC teams, the Buffalo Bills who we have already played in Week 1 and defeated, and the Tennessee Titans who we will play in Week 14. Both teams lead their respective divisions and look to gain a head to head advantage in the AFC Conference.

This could cause a stir here in the comment section but The Steelers would be in the playoffs if the season ended today! Any who, Stay Safe and Go Steelers.

AFC North Recap: The Steelers remain in control of their own destiny after Week 6

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 4:46pm
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

With the Browns being the only losers in Week 6, anything is still possible without the highly competitive AFC North.

The sixth week of NFL football is behind us, and it was quite the week in the AFC North division. With that said, it is time to see how the Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns all did in the week that was.

Time to take a look...

Baltimore Ravens - 34
Los Angeles Chargers - 6

I’m not sure if this speaks more to the play of the Ravens, or that of the Chargers, but it was a dominant performance at M&T Bank Stadium for the home team. Justin Herbert is going to be a tremendous quarterback, and most would say he already is, but he certainly went through some growing pains vs. the Baltimore defense. The Ravens are red-hot, and a big matchup with Cincinnati awaits in Week 7.

Cincinnati Bengals - 34
Detroit Lions - 11

I knew the Bengals would be a better team in 2021, if they could stay healthy, and they look more like a contender than a pretender. Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase look like they did when together at LSU, and they did what they should do against a lesser Lions team — dominate. As I said before, the Bengals next test will be a big one, the Baltimore Ravens. Win that one, and you’ll have the attention of the entire NFL.

Arizona Cardinals - 37
Cleveland Browns - 14

The Browns were dismantled by the undefeated Cardinals, in more ways than one. Already without Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt was carted off the field and Baker Mayfield dislocated his non-throwing shoulder for the second time this season. The Browns are struggling right now, and if it weren’t for a Hail Mary at the end of the half, they wouldn’t have hit pay dirt twice in the game. The Cardinals are good, but the Browns also played poorly at home. The Browns play the Broncos at home in Week 7, this before hosting the Steelers in Week 8. The Browns are a banged up group heading into these big AFC matchups.

Pittsburgh Steelers - 23 (OT)
Seattle Seahawks - 20

It wasn’t pretty, but it was necessary. The Steelers found a way to win, and there are times when you have to tip your cap to the opposition. The Seahawks were hit with several big injuries, and Pete Carroll found a way to get his team on the cusp of pulling off a huge upset on national television. It just wasn’t in the cards. I’d say the better team won the game, but there is plenty to improve upon before the Steelers take the field again. Luckily that won’t be until Week 8, and the bye wee comes at a time when the team can get some of their walking wounded healed up for the stretch run.

AFC North Standings

Baltimore Ravens - 5-1
Cincinnati Bengals - 4-2
Cleveland Browns - 3-3
Pittsburgh Steelers - 3-3

Week 7 AFC North Schedule:

Cleveland Browns vs. Denver Broncos — Thursday Night Football, 8:15 p.m. ET

Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals — Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET

Pittsburgh Steelers — BYE WEEK

A look ahead...

Next three opponents for all AFC North teams:

Baltimore Ravens: vs. Bengals, BYE, vs. Vikings
Cleveland Browns: vs. Broncos, vs. Steelers, at Bengals
Pittsburgh Steelers: BYE, at Browns, vs. Bears (MNF)
Cincinnati Bengals: at Ravens, at Jets, vs. Browns

Be a part of the BTSC Bye Week Bonanza podcasts

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 4:00pm
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Get in on the opportunity to be featured on a BTSC podcast.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are heading into their bye week for the 2021 NFL season. Not getting a true bye in 2020 didn’t allow the Steelers players, or fans, to reset throughout the season. But in 2021, the Pittsburgh Steelers will get some much needed rest and refocus as they prepare for their final 11 games of the regular season.

While the Steelers may be taking some time off, we here at BTSC will be doing no such thing! As we continue to bring continued content on the editorial side, our family of podcasts will be doing a special feature while the team is away. Dubbed as the BTSC Bye Week Bonanza, several of our podcasters will be presenting a breakdown of the Steelers 2021 season to date as well as expectations for the remainder of the season.

But why stop there? Why not take this wonderful opportunity to let you, the listeners, join in on the fun? If you would like to have your thoughts on the Steelers season featured on one of our audio podcasts, we have just the opportunity for you!

To get in on the fun, all you need to do is to record an audio file no longer than 60 seconds and submit it to us here at BTSC. All recordings need to be submitted by 8 AM on Thursday, October 21. The audio needs to be the best quality you can provide (in other words, avoiding background noise such as crowds or pets is beneficial). Simply use a voice recording device on a smart phone, such as Voice Memos on iPhone, and record your clip.

The next step is knowing what to say. Here is what we would like each listener who submits a clip to answer:

  1. Name and/or user name (used in the YouTube live chat or on the comment section of the BTSC website)
  2. Thoughts on the Steelers’ season so far
  3. Where do you see the Steelers going from here?

Remember, these clips will be compiled and released on our podcast platform. Therefore, there are certain standards which much be applied. If the clip is inaudible, contains improper language, or does not seem to be genuine in nature, our podcast producer has full authority to reject any submission.

The last piece of information is where to submit your file. Simply email the file to the BTSC podcast producer, Bryan Anthony Davis, at: badavis8889@gmail.com

And there it is! Here is your opportunity to get your voice out about the Steelers 2021 NFL season and your expectations moving forward. We look forward to hearing from you! And if you’re not sure how to end your clip, you can always do it with one simple phrase: GO STEELERS!

Steelers escape Week 6 without serious injury, and now hope to get right during the bye

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 12:30pm
Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t suffer any serious injuries in their overtime win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday Night Football.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are a team which has the look of a unit desperately needing a week off. That week off is now upon the Steelers as they enter their Week 7 bye week, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Some NFL experts have said there is no such thing as a poorly timed bye week, and when the schedule was released many fans though the Week 7 bye was too early in the season. Others had nightmares about the 2020 Week 7 bye week which was ruined by the Tennessee Titans COVID-19 outbreak.

Nonetheless, the Steelers are not going to complain about getting a week off, and they could use the extra week to hopefully get several players back to full health.

When you consider some of the players who might be dealing with lingering injuries, but been able to play through them, the list is long:

James Washington (groin)
Devin Bush (groin)
Cam Sutton (groin)
T.J. Watt (groin)
Alex Highsmith (groin)
Ben Roethlisberger (pectoral/hip)
Chase Claypool (hamstring)
Carlos Davis (knee)
Kevin Dotson (hip)

Although these players missed a minimal amount of time, it doesn’t mean the injuries they sustained are 100% healed. The week off can make a world of difference for soft tissue injuries like a groin or hamstring strain.

In the Steelers’ Week 6 overtime win over the Seattle Seahawks the only injury of note was to rookie offensive tackle Dan Moore Jr. Moore left the game with an apparent hip injury, and did not return.

Joe Haeg out at LT to start this possession for the Steelers. Dan Moore Jr. (hip) is questionable to return.

Steelers start at their 26 with 5:19 left. Tied ballgame.

— Brian Batko (@BrianBatko) October 18, 2021

After the game, Mike Tomlin did not give an update on Moore’s status, which typically means it isn’t considered a serious injury. Tomlin won’t meet with media this week, so fans will have to wait to hear about the health of the Steelers until the following Tuesday when the team ramps up for the Cleveland Browns in Week 8.

Other than those dealing with lingering injuries, the Steelers are also hopeful to get other players back into the fold who have been placed on Injured Reserve (IR). Prior to the Sunday night game Zach Banner was activated to the 53-man roster, so it is safe to assume he will be anchoring one side of the line coming off the bye week. As for Anthony McFarland, who admitted he tore his MCL prior to the season, he has yet to be activated, but at least has returned to practice. The only other player who has yet to have his 21-day clock started is Stephon Tuitt. Tuitt is nursing a knee injury, and when he will return is anyone’s guess, but the defensive line could use him in a big way down the stretch.

Now comes the difficult part for fans where they are left in the dark for over a week, hoping the Steelers are able to get some of these nagging injuries healthy before their first matchup against the Browns, in Cleveland, in Week 8.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they head into their bye week.

Week 6 snap counts show the Steelers finally unleash Alex Highsmith and Pat Freiermuth

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 11:30am
Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers showed they are willing to change things up to win in week 6.

The Steelers won their third game of the season, pulling back to .500 in the standings with a 23-20 overtime win over the Seattle Seahawks. It wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win. A two-game winning streak and a 3-3 record heading into the bye is a lot nicer than a 2-4 record. The Steelers still aren’t in great shape on the injury front and this week the Steelers snap counts showed they are willing to give different players a shot, and are willing to change up their strategies to get the best out of this team.

Offense

Dan Moore Jr. missed some of the game and Joe Haeg replaced him, Benny Snell had a pretty nasty looking injury in the first quarter, and while Kalen Ballage then received all the backup running back snaps, Benny Snell continued his role as a primary special teams player after the injury. Whatever fans may think about his play as a running back, he’s a really valuable special teams player, and apparently one tough dude.

The Steelers played Ray-Ray McCloud a lot on offense in Week 6, with James Washington playing only 8 snaps. It could be that while he was cleared to play, he wasn’t 100% during the game. It could also be a sign that with JuJu Smith-Schuster out, McCloud is taking over the #3 WR spot. While I lean more to the injury side of that coin, this season hasn’t been a good one for James Washington.

The biggest change is the overall percentage of tight end snaps for the Steelers. The Steelers have been averaging 1.2 or fewer tight ends per snap in their other games this season, but with JuJu Smith-Schuster out they leaned more heavily on the tight ends, with 1.36 tight ends per snap. And when you add in Derek Watt, that comes to 1.44 TE/FB per snap. That uptick in snaps correlates with a much bigger uptick in production as Eric Ebron and Pat Freiermuth combined to catch all 9 of their targets for 68 yards. That’s more than the duo had in the previous three games combined.

Getting their talented receiving tight ends off the line and in space should pay dividends, especially in Matt Canada’s offense. It also stands out that Najee Harris caught a touchdown on a play where he lined up in the slot. The loss of Smith-Schuster is a big loss, but the Steelers leaning on Matt Canada’s use of RBs and TEs in creative ways should pay dividends for the entire offense, and help offset the loss.

Defense

The main four defensive backs all played 100% of snaps, which isn’t uncommon. What is unusual is Alex Highsmith joining the 100% club for the first time in his career. It paid off with Highsmith recording his first 4 QB hits of the season, collecting 1.5 sacks to go with 2 tackles for a loss. Before this week Highsmith had 0 sacks, 0 QB hits and 1 tackle for a loss on the season. That’s a breakout game.

On the other end of that snap increase is Melvin Ingram playing a total of 17 snaps, half his previous low from this season, and for the first time this season didn’t produce a single stat. I can’t remember anything about him being injured, he was on the injury report for missing Wednesday’s practice with a non-injury-related designation, and he practiced the rest of the week. Perhaps we’ll find out he was hurt in the game. Derrek Tuszka didn’t see the field at all after playing in three straight games. You would expect him to see some snaps if the Steelers had an injured linebacker.

Another big deal is Henry Mondeaux coming in third in defensive line snaps for the second straight game. After a preseason where he was consistently the player right behind Wormley, the Steelers put him on the practice squad, but since they elevated him he has been the #3 lineman. It doesn’t make sense to me that they would put on the practice squad a guy who, when he’s on the roster, ranks ahead of multiple players they kept over him.

The Steelers continued their rotation of Arthur Maulet playing mostly in nickel, then coming out in dime for James Pierre and Tre Norwood. Both Tre Norwood and Arthur Maulet made plays against Seattle, and looked good for most of the game. The Steelers defense isn’t what it was when it had Mike Hilton, Steven Nelson, Vince Williams, Tyson Alualu and Stephon Tuitt, but the Steelers have found players to fill those roles well enough to keep the defense solid even with players out and players like Devin Bush playing at less than 100%.

Podcast: Winners and Losers from Steelers vs. Seahawks in Week 6

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 11:00am

Jeff Hartman leads the way with his AM studio show on the BTSC family of podcasts with the latest episode of “Let’s Ride“.

The Steelers and Seahawks took Week 6’s game deep into the night with the Men of Steel winning 23-20. There were some surprises and letdowns and always, winners and losers. This is the main topic that will be discussed on the latest episode of the morning flagship show in the BTSC family of podcasts. Join BTSC senior editor Jeff Hartman for this and more on “Let’s Ride”.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Note
  • Winners and Losers
  • and MUCH MORE!

Jeff Hartman of BTSC walks you through everything you need to know regarding the black-and-gold.

Be sure to check out this and all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

You can listen to the show in the player below.

Analyzing the Steelers Week 6 overtime win over the Seahawks, by the numbers

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 10:00am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

It took an extra seven minutes to determine the outcome, but the Steelers came out on top.

The 2021 Pittsburgh Steelers have won back-to-back games for the first time this season with a 23-20 overtime victory over the Seattle Seahawks at Heinz Field on Sunday night. The Steelers got out to a halftime lead only to find the Seahawks coming back to tie things up twice in the fourth quarter. Regardless of how it all played out, the Steelers are now back to .500 as the head into their bye week.

So without further ado, here are some of the numbers involved in the Steelers win over the Seahawks in Pittsburgh.

3

The Steelers defense really got the job done in the first half on Sunday night. Holding the Seahawks scoreless, the Steelers only allowed three first downs through the first 30 minutes of the game. In all, the Seahawks only had 65 yards on 21 plays and only possessed the ball for 9:15 during the first half. Additionally, the Seahawks went 1–6 on third down in the opening half.

110

As good as the Steelers defense was for the first two quarters, it was the third quarter which saw the game turn around. After only allowing 18 rushing yards in the first half, Seattle exploded in the third quarter with 110 rushing yards on 15 carries for an average of 7.33 yards per rush. The Seahawks had 11 first downs and were 1–1 on third down and scored 14 points in the third quarter.

1

As the Steelers continue to figure out their offensive identity in Week 6, their young offensive line did a good job of protecting Ben Roethlisberger once again. Not only was Roethlisberger not sacked during the game, he only received one quarterback hit which was by Darrell Taylor, the player who was taken to the hospital during the game for a neck injury.

19

The Pittsburgh Steelers won their 19th consecutive game on Sunday in which they rushed for 100 yards or more. Although Najee Harris did not go over 100 yards rushing himself, he had 81 yards on 24 carries. With Kalen Bellage adding 15 yards on two carries as well as Diontae Johnson having a 25 yard rush, the Steelers ended the game with 119 rushing yards on 30 attempts. Not already listed were Ben Roethlisberger‘s two rushing attempts in overtime to set up Boswell‘s field goal which lost the Steelers 3 yards and, most importantly, Eric Ebron‘s one-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Although the Steelers went over the century mark for the second-straight week, they did not out rush there opponents as Seattle finished the game with 144 rushing yards on 27 attempts.

2

Helping the Steelers secure the victory in overtime was the defense who came up big on both Seattle possessions. T.J. Watt had two sacks, both in overtime, as well as a forced fumble to set up the game-winning field goal. Of the Seahawks’ six offensive plays in OT, three of them went for negative or no yards as Cam Heyward also had a tackle for a 4-yard loss.

4

The Steelers targeted seven different receivers in the passing game on Sunday night, and four of those receivers caught every one of their targets. Leading the way with a perfect catching percentage was Pat Freiermuth who caught all seven of his targets for 58 yards. Both Eric Ebron and Ray-Ray McCloud caught both of their targets as did James Washington, who was only targeted once in the game. The players who did not catch all of their targets were Najee Harris who caught six of his seven targets, Chase Claypool who caught two of his seven targets, and Diontae Johnson who caught nine of his 13 targets.

10 vs. 2

One key defensive statistic in which the Steelers held a large advantage was tackles for loss. The Steelers had 10 plays in which they were credited for a tackle for loss while Seattle only managed two on the night. The Steelers also held an 8-1 advantage in quarterback hits, a 5-0 advantage in sacks, a 5-3 advantage in passes defensed, and a 3-0 advantage in forced fumbles.

0

I will continue to highlight this statistic as it is very telling with the Steelers results. Although the Steelers did turn the ball over once in the game, the defense stepped up to force a three and out and not give up any points. What helped to secure the victory was the fact the Steelers got back to a zero turnover margin with their fumble recovery in overtime. Scoring three points in overtime on the forced fumble by T.J. Watt which was recovered by Devin Bush was ultimately the difference in the game.

27, 52, & 37

After jumping out to a 14-0 lead at halftime, the Steelers failed to find the end zone remainder of the game. Fortunately, the Steelers have one of the best kickers in the NFL as Chris Boswell knocked home three field goals for the Steelers from 27 yards, 52 yards, and the game-winner in overtime from 37 yards.

3

The best number for Steelers could have come up with on Sunday night, they earned their third win of the season. Being able to get back to .500 before the bye should give the Steelers a boost as they move forward for the remainder of the NFL season. In getting their third win, the Steelers won their first overtime game since Week 17 of the 2016 NFL season when Landry Jones hit Cobi Hamilton for a 26-yard touchdown pass to defeat the Cleveland Browns.

So there are some numbers to help put the Steelers Week 6 win in perspective. While their performance was encouraging, it is more important for the Steelers to build on their win against the Seahawks and keep things going in the right direction coming out of their bye week.

So what numbers from Sunday night’s game stand out to you? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

8 Winners and 7 Losers after the Steelers’ OT win vs. the Seahawks

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 9:00am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Time to take a look at who would be considered a ‘Winner’ and a ‘Loser’ after the Steelers latest action on the gridiron.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were back on the field Sunday when they played the Seattle Seahawks in Week 6 of regular season action. The Steelers were winners in the contest, but that doesn’t mean every player had a bad performance.

Players who play well can be considered ‘Winners’, while those who left a lot to be desired can be called ‘Losers’. It may sound harsh, but it is the crux of this exercise.

Let’s check in to see who fell on which side of the ledger after the first game of the preseason...

Winners

T.J. Watt
Stat Line: 7 tackles, 6 solo, 2 sacks, 1 Forced Fumble, 3 TFL, 3 Pass Defense, 2 QB Hits

Look at that stat line! Almost goes to its own page! That is the night Watt had, but when you think about it, it was in the critical moments when Watt stood the tallest. And that is exactly what you pay your top players for, to deliver when it matters the most. Watt earned his money Sunday night, and as Mike Tomlin said in his post-game press conference, they expect Watt to perform that way he did.

Najee Harris
Stat Line: 24 carries, 81 yards, 3.4 average / 6 receptions, 46 yards, 1 TD, 7 targets

I am so happy to see Matt Canada starting to utilize Harris as an actual receiving weapon, and not just a decoy. Early in the season Harris would barely run routes, just taking his defender away from the play. Now, the Steelers have started to utilize Harris as a pass catcher, and it is paying huge dividends. Harris’ 46 yards receiving, and touchdown, were vintage Steelers football. When you have a playmaker like Harris, you feed him as early and as often as possible. Throw in Harris’ pass catching with his solid running, and the Steelers continue to prove they picked a great one in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Tre Norwood
Stat Line: 3 tackles, 3 solo, 1 TFL, 1 Pass Defense

If it was a critical third down play, there was a good chance the Steelers’ stop was made by Norwood. When you watch him play, he doesn’t look like a 7th round draft pick. Instead, he looks like a seasoned veteran who knows his assignment like the back of his hand. This isn’t to suggest the rookie is perfect, he isn’t, but it also means the Steelers have found a very versatile tool who is making an impact in Year 1. Just wait to see what he can do when he actually has a full season under his belt. Norwood is making the Steelers look like geniuses.

Alex Highsmith
Stat Line: 7 total tackles, 2 solo, 1.5 sacks, 2 TFL, 4 QB Hits

Finally! We all have been waiting to see Highsmith break out and have a tremendous game, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Highsmith was living in the backfield, but throughout his struggles as a pass rusher continues to be stout against the run. Highsmith registered not just his first sack of the season, but also his first QB Hit too. Let’s hope this is the start of something special for the second year pass rusher.

Cam Heyward
Stat Line: 9 tackles, 6 solo, 1 sack, 2 TFL, 1 QB Hit

Without Tyson Alualu and Stephon Tuitt, the pressure is on Heyward to perform. He is being double teamed regularly, and continues to deliver. Heyward was the emotional leader of the defense on Sunday, and a large reason why the group, despite their shortcomings, never gave up. Heyward’s mentality, along with his play, is the reason he is the team’s defensive captain for 2021.

Pass Rush
Stat Line: 5 sacks, 8 QB Hits

The Steelers didn’t get to rush the passer much, considering the Seahawks’ offense was able to run the ball, but when Geno Smith had to throw he was being harassed early and often. Watt and Highsmith had tremendous games, and Cam Heyward was a wrecking ball once again. A great bounce back game for the team’s pass rush.

Chris Boswell
Stat Line: 3/3 FGs, Long: 52, 2/2 XP, Game-Winning FG

While some NFL kickers get kicked to the curb after one bad game, the Steelers keeping Boswell after 2018 seems like one of the smartest decisions in recent years. Boswell has been money in the bank, and it couldn’t have come at a better time on Sunday night.

Pat Friermuth
Stat Line: 7 catches, 58 yards, 7 targets

Don’t look now, but Pat Freiermuth is starting to heat up. The rookie has continued to be more and more involved in the offense, and that means good things for the Steelers. The more Friermuth gets involved, the more it means the Steelers are really starting to open up the offense. 7-for-7 for the rookie tight end, this kid doesn’t drop much which is in his catching radius.

Losers

Tackling
Stat Line: SOOO many missed tackles

I honestly can’t remember a game where the tackling was this atrocious. Whether it was Terrell Edmunds’ front row seat of Alex Collins’ touchdown, Joe Haden’s many swings and misses or the numerous bad angles taken, the Steelers’ tackling was awful.

2nd Half Defense
Stat Line: 20 second half points surrendered

What can I say? The Steelers’ defense forgot to return to the field in the second half. Everything that was going good in the first half, a stifling rush defense, pressure on the quarterback and tight coverage, completely flipped in the second half. Maybe the Steelers were thinking they will cruise to a win, but Seattle made them earn it...and the second half defense didn’t help much at all.

Chase Claypool
Stat Line: 2 catches, 17 yards, 7 targets

Maybe my expectations for Claypool are too lofty, but I expect more from the second year wide receiver. Not only was Claypool not on the same page as Ben Roethlisberger on occasion Sunday night, but he also had some bone-headed penalties too. Not a good day for Claypool, but hopefully one he can learn from.

Run Defense
Stat Line: Surrendered 144 yards

When the Steelers took the field in the second half, they must have forgotten their rush defense in the locker room. Alex Collins and company completed gutted the Steelers’ rush defense. It didn’t matter who was running the football, they were breaking off runs at a ridiculous clip. At the end of the game, the Seahawks were averaging 5.3 yards per carry. Why Pete Carroll every dialed up a Geno Smith pass unless absolutely necessary, I have no idea.

3rd Down Offense
Stat Line: 5-for-14

Last week the Steelers’ 3rd down offense was on the winners side of the ledger, but this week they fall back to the losers side. The offense was putrid on third downs for the majority of the game, and plenty of blame can be circulated for these issues.

Officiating at end of the game
Stat Line: What the heck was that?!

Mike Tomlin called it “embarrassing”, and I’d agree with the Steelers head coach. He went on to say he “hated it” from a coach’s perspective, and Tomlin has every right to be upset about how the game ended at Heinz Field. Luckily the Steelers won the game, but could you imagine if the Seahawks went on to win, and the chaotic scene at the end of regulation gave them the breathe of life they needed?! Let’s not think about that...

Steelers Defense on the final drive of regulation
Stat Line: Needed a stop, didn’t get it

Don’t let the officiating fiasco change your opinion on what happened at the end of the game. The Steelers’ defense could have put an end to the game well before the officials took over in botching the final 20 seconds of the game. They could have silenced some of the critics with a stop, and they didn’t get it. They allowed the game to go to overtime, and that was disheartening.

If you want a more detailed look at the above list, check out my “Let’s Ride” podcast where I outline each Winner and Loser, and MORE!

Report Card: Grading the Steelers OT win over the Seahawks

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 8:00am
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Steelers won on the field but did they get the passing grade?

The Pittsburgh Steelers were successful on Sunday Night in a roller coaster affair against the Seattle Seahawks. A game that seemingly would go down without much of a fight from the visiting team at half time turned out to be a 60-minute-plus overtime thriller. There were heroes all over the field for the Pittsburgh Steelers as well as a couple scapegoats. But at the end of the day, the Pittsburgh Steelers were successful and have evened their record heading into the bye week. Below you will find the game grades for the Pittsburgh Steelers 23-20 OT victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

Offense

The offense was pretty consistent throughout the entire evening. Ben Roethlisberger was cautious with the football and, although he made a number of poor throws, was fairly dialed in throughout the game. The Steelers quarterback did everything that was needed from him to get the job done despite a pretty suspect fumble call late in the game. The veteran quarterback played the kind of game the Steelers will need from him throughout the remainder of the season if they want to be successful.

The running game was okay early on, but dialed in late in the game— especially in the fourth quarter and overtime. Najee Harris continues to prove he is one of the best rookies in all of the National Football League. He is a hard, physical runner who can make something out of nothing and, when he does have the appropriate blocking, can do something truly special with the football.

The receivers were nothing more than adequate on this day. Diontae Johnson looked pretty good except had his first drop of the season which was in a brutal spot late in the game. Chase Claypool had perhaps his worst game as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers as he seemed off page with Ben Roethlisberger on a number of throws. Simply beat on 50-50 throws he should be winning, Claypool also made a very costly offensive pass interference penalty late in the game.

The tight ends were very good. Pat Freiermuth looks like a star in the making, catching seven of seven targets and running with a physical style behind him. Despite a lack of targets, Eric Ebron was noticeable both scoring a touchdown on the ground and a handful of receptions. Zach Gentry is carving out a nice spot for himself in the team as a physical blocker and really rounds out this group.

The offensive line was fine , Perhaps not as good as a week ago, but they continue to show signs of growth. This group has come a long way from the start of the season and are playing better football. Because of this the Steelers are a better team on offense.

Final Grade: B- Defense

The defense started off the game unbelievably. Shutting out the Seattle Seahawks through 30 minutes and making it look very easy, the third quarter hit and the Steelers weren’t able to stop anything. Alex Collins and the Seahawks run game were running down the Steelers throats at will. Even Gino Smith looked pretty good for a stretch of the game while the Steelers defense looked like they couldn’t stop anything.

Then the middle of the fourth quarter hit and the Steelers defense once again dialed it back up and played great football. T.J. Watt was the star of overtime, and really the game, for the Steelers defense as he registered a pair of sacks including the game-winning sack/fumble. Surely, Watt will be the AFC’s Defensive Player of the Week.

Tre Norwood and Cam Heyward were also very noticeable in this game. The veteran D-lineman was pushing everyone back, getting tackles all over the field, and looked like a beast. The seventh-round pick rookie defensive back continues to make plays despite his minimal years in the NFL and his low pedigree entering the league. Both guys should be proud of what they put on the game tape and should be recognized for their efforts.

Final Grade: B Special Teams

Chris Boswell needs his recognition as one of the best kickers in the NFL. If it wasn’t for Justin Tucker, he would easily be the best kicker in the game has he once again was perfect in the game where most of the NFL‘s kickers have been absolutely putrid this season. Boswell continues to be one of the most clutch and accurate kickers the Steelers have ever had.

Aside from one shanked punt, Pressley Harvin III was also excellent booming the ball all over the field and flipping field position for the Steelers throughout the entire night. If he can remove that bad play that seems to pop up once a game, he may grow into one of, if not the best, punters in football.

Final Grade: A Overall

This was a roller coaster affair, especially in the fourth quarter. Despite the ups and downs, the Pittsburgh Steelers were victorious, evened up their record, and enter the bye week in a pretty good position. The offense was fine, the defense was great, then bad, then great again, and the special teams won the day for the Steelers.

Offensive coordinator Matt Canada also deserves some praise as he called a great game for the Steelers offense. All in all, the Steelers got the job done despite playing against some back ups and keep their lofty aspirations alive. It was a fun game as a fan watching the Steelers win on the very last play the game, and it doesn’t get much better than that before the bye week.

Final Grade: B+

But what do you think? Do you agree with these grades? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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