The Pittsburgh Steelers took to the road in Week 14 when they traveled to the Mountain Time Zone to play the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. The Steelers might have been on the road, but it certainly didn’t look like it considering how Steelers fans invaded the Cardinals’ home stadium.
Mike Tomlin’s crew won the opening coin toss and elected to defer their possession to the second half. Kyler Murray and company took the first possession, but only mustered one first down before punting the ball to Devlin Hodges and company.
Hodges and a good mixture of run and pass were able to move the ball into the red-zone thanks to a personal foul penalty for a defender who hit Trey Edmunds high after the play was over. All the free first down did was extend the drive, and the 8 minute affair ended with a Chris Boswell chip shot to make the score 3-0.
After Keith Butler’s defense forced a three-and-out, the punt, which was fielded by Diontae Johnson, was returned 85 yards to the house for the Steelers touchdown.
85 yards TO THE HOUSE!!@Juiceup__3 + #ProBowlVote pic.twitter.com/ceVz05jvxr— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 8, 2019
The Chris Boswell point-after was good, making the score 10-0 with just 2:52 left in the first quarter.
Another three-and-out set the Steelers’ offense up to really put the hammer down, but on first down Benny Snell fumbled, and was recovered by Terrell Suggs.
The Cardinals received the ball on the Pittsburgh 34-yard line and quickly moved the ball into a first-and-goal situation. However, the Steelers’ defense pushed the Cardinals backwards before gaining any ground, forcing a field goal to make the score 10-3 with 11:15 left in the opening half.
Hodges wasn’t able to manufacture points on the Steelers’ next drive, but were able to flip the field position game. On the next Arizona possession Murray settled in and used mismatches and tempo to move the ball into the Pittsburgh red-zone for the second time of the half. The first attempt ended in a field goal, but the second attempt was a Charles Clay touchdown reception. After the point-after the game was tied 10-10 with 1:51 left in the half.
Pittsburgh’s offense was able to quickly move the ball deep into Arizona territory, but a Chandler Jones strip sack of Hodges turned the potential touchdown drive into a field goal drive. Chris Boswell hit a 37-yard field goal to make the score 13-10 heading into halftime with the Steelers due to get the football to start the third quarter.
The first drive of the third quarter was customary for opening drives for the Steelers, and it resulted in a three-and-out. Just as it looked as if Murray was about to orchestrate at least a field goal drive, Joe Haden jumped a route and intercepted Murray. It was Haden’s second interception in the past two games, and a huge play for the Steelers.
His third INT of the year!!@joehaden23 + #ProBowlVote pic.twitter.com/DdIqF11Gvi— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 8, 2019
Desperately in need of a touchdown off the turnover, Hodges and the offensive line put together arguably their best drive in a long time together. Powered by a mixture of Kerrith Whyte, Jaylen Samuels and Benny Snell on the ground, the Steelers pounded their way into the red-zone. From there it was a Hodges pass to Diontae Johnson for the Steelers touchdown.
Punt return for a touchdown ✔️— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 8, 2019
Receiving touchdown ✔️@Juiceup__3 + #ProBowlVote pic.twitter.com/odGuXe7oNo
The Boswell point after was good, making the score 20-10 Steelers with 2:00 left in the third quarter.
A disturbing trend for the Steelers throughout 2019 has been their defense giving up points after their offense adds points to the scoreboard. This trend continued on the Cardinals’ next drive after Murray hit several big passes to move quickly into the Pittsburgh red-zone for the third time. After falling two yards short on third down, Cliff Kingsbury elected to go for it on 4th down. Murray rolled to his right, but was intercepted by T.J. Watt in the end-zone.
Devlin Hodges’ next drive ended after a lone first down, but when it looked like the Steelers would punt the ball back to the Cardinals, Jordan Berry faked the punt and was tackled for a loss. It gave Arizona prime field position, and three plays later Murray hit David Johnson for a touchdown. The Gonzalez point-after made the score 20-17 with 6:44 left in regulation.
When the Steelers desperately needed a time-consuming drive, Devlin Hodges delivered. A unique blend of power running and timely passes worked the Steelers into Arizona territory. After a false start to Alejandro Villanueva, Pittsburgh faced a 3-and-12 when Hodges hit Johnson for the first down.
After the two-minute warning, the Cardinals held only two timeouts, which meant you would think the Steelers would run the ball three times to kill as much clock as possible. But on second down a Hodges pass was tipped and stopped the clock. The result? A Boswell field goal to make the score 23-17 with 1:42 left in regulation.
Murray and the Cardinals were out of timeouts, and the Pittsburgh pass rush was relentless in their pursuit of the rookie quarterback. Two sacks and an incomplete pass resulted in another Joe Haden interception to seal the win.
The Steelers’ win moved their record to 8-5 on the season, setting up a huge contest in Week 15 with the Buffalo Bills at Heinz Field in Week 15. Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold moving forward.