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Steelers Do Just Enough Against Titans. Improve to 5-3

Kenny Pickett improves to 7-0 in prime time after winning on Thursday Night Football, narrowly defeating the Tennessee Titans by a score of 20-16. In a game characterized by grit, resilience, and timely plays, the Steelers showcased their ability to hang on and secure a win despite facing adversities on the field.

Kenny Pickett: The Resilient Quarterback

Not a great game for Kenny. At times where I finally thought Matt Canada put some things together, I got a little frustrated watching the quarterback play last night. 

The Steelers’ quarterback, Kenny Pickett, proved to be an instrumental player in securing the team’s fifth victory of the season. To be honest, it was not great, but I much rather watch him play then watch any of the other alternatives at the moment.

Despite grappling with a rib injury, Pickett managed to keep his composure and deliver a solid performance. Completing 19 out of 30 passes for 160 yards, Pickett stepped up when it mattered the most. His 32-yard pass to Diontae Johnson on the decisive drive underscored his ability to make crucial plays under pressure.

Pickett’s performance may not have been the most glamorous, but it was certainly effective in steering the Steelers to a 5-3 record. In fact, four out of Pittsburgh’s five wins this season have come in games where they were trailing entering the fourth quarter, a testament to their never-say-die attitude and Pickett’s leadership. That’s been the script for the past two years. Win games so close you stop the heart beat for the fans in Pittsburgh or just get the doors blown off. 

A Silver Lining in the Offensive Line

Embattled offensive coordinator Matt Canada was shifted from the coaching box to the sideline for this particular game, a move aimed at sparking a revival in the Steelers’ offense. The immediate results were promising, with Pickett orchestrating a 78-yard touchdown drive on Pittsburgh’s opening possession. I was very confused at competency in multiple facets of the offense.  

However, the offensive line’s performance throughout the game was inconsistent. While there were moments of brilliance, the overall execution was better to say. Starting Broderick Jones at right tackle seemed to be a wise adjustment. 

He has started at Left Tackle before but he has shown promise going either way. I liked how the Steelers used him to pull, letting the big man get in space and he also did a better job of attacking the second level of the defense. Better than what we have been used to seeing. 

The Star of the Game: Diontae Johnson

In a game marked by close encounters and nail-biting moments, Diontae Johnson emerged as the star for the Steelers. Johnson’s first touchdown in 655 days proved to be the game-winner.

Couldn’t be more happy for him to get this off his back. The last time he caught a touchdown was Week 17, 2021 catching tosses from Big Ben. Now we are hoping Diontae can stay healthy and be a threat week in and week out down the stretch. 

A Tough Night for the Titans

Just as the Steelers had their winners, the Titans had their share of struggles. Rookie quarterback Will Levis put up another solid performance in only his second NFL start, throwing for 262 yards. However, his final pass ended up being his first career interception, essentially sealing the game in favor of the Steelers. 

I must give credit to Levis as he hung in there, didn’t look aggressively overwhelmed and I think performed well against a Steelers defense that brings pain. He is definitely someone Titans fans can get excited about as his play as he just looks like he was born to play the position.

Injuries also plagued the Titans, with wide receiver Treylon Burks being carted off the field following a hard landing. Despite these setbacks, the Titans showcased their resilience, making it a closely contested game.

A Defensive Masterclass by the Steelers

The Steelers’ defense did their part per usual. While they started off on a shaky note, especially with 5 penalties on the first defensive drive, they cleaned it up and bounced back strongly to contain the Titans’ offensive threat. D’Andre Hopkins had his finger prints all over the game in the first half and was absolutely clamped the 2nd half. 

The return of Cameron Heyward provided a much-needed boost to the Steelers’ defensive line, and players like T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith consistently applied pressure on the Titans’ quarterback. So happy to see him back as we are going to need his leadership while Minkah Fitzpatrick is out dealing with the hamstring injury. 

The Road Ahead for the Steelers

This victory serves as a morale booster for the Pittsburgh Steelers as they strive to keep pace in the AFC North and the National Football League (NFL) at large. The team’s ability to pull off close wins is an encouraging sign, reflecting their resilience and tenacity.

While there are areas that need improvement, especially in the offensive line, this win showcases the potential that the Steelers possess. With players like Pickett, Johnson, and Heyward leading the charge, the Steelers look poised to make a strong push in the remaining games of the season.

In an unpredictable and thrilling league like the NFL, the Steelers have demonstrated that they are a force to be reckoned with. The road ahead may be fraught with challenges, but with their never-say-die attitude and unwavering resilience, the Pittsburgh Steelers are ready to take on whatever comes their way.


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