I don’t know about most Steelers fans, but I was growing quite nervous as I watched the New York Football Giants carve up the defense on a drive that had already covered 18 plays and 87 yards late in the third quarter of the season opener at MetLife Stadium on Monday Night Football.
Pittsburgh was clinging to 16-10 lead in a game that was a little too close for comfort against an opponent that was (say it with me) lesser.
The 19th play of the Giants’ drive was set to snap at the Pittsburgh four-yard line. A touchdown would have given New York a one-point lead.
Considering kicker Chris Boswell had already missed an extra point in the first half, the thought of him lining up for a potential game-winner in the waning seconds of the game was giving me the shakes.
I could picture the Facebook and Twitter comments in my head as I watched New York quarterback Daniel Jones, the guy they affectionately call “Danny Dimes” (for now), bark out the second-down signals:
“Coach Dumblin’s teams are never ready to play!”
“They always loose (poor spelling on purpose) to inferior teams!”
Were the Steelers about to start off win-less for a third-straight season?
No. Why? Because Cameron Heyward, the captain, the leader of the locker room, would have a little something to say about it. Actually, to be fair (and since when is the Internet ever fair?), outside linebacker Bud Dupree, a man whose play on Monday night would be getting more publicity if not for some guy named Ben Roethlisberger, had something to say about it first; that’s right, he relentlessly chased after Jones on the second-down play and forced him to throw up a duck that fluttered helplessly through the New Jersey air and was headed straight for a sea of black and gold-clad defenders standing in the end zone.
Who would catch it? Devin Bush? Joe Haden? It had to be Minkah Fitzpatrick, right?
None of the above. Since I’m horrible at teasing (and since you probably watched the game), you know it was Heyward, who leapt up to secure the interception before falling meekly to the turf for an innocent touchback that preserved Pittsburgh’s lead.
Anyway, back to that fluttering flick by Danny Dimes. As it floated helplessly through the New Jersey air, Heyward came into frame on my uncle’s television screen. It quickly became obvious he was the leading candidate to make the interception—at least by proximity, if not skill.
As I watched this slowly unfold before my eyes, I jumped out of my seat and screamed, “Catch it, Cam!”
Not to be redundant, but he did.
After the play ended, I noticed that I couldn’t stop giggling. Why? It’s just funny watching huge defensive linemen try and intercept passes.
You don’t know if they’ll catch it, and if they do, you don’t know if they’ll decide to run or fall straight to the turf.
They almost always fall to the turf, even if they initially decide to run.
Finally, Heyward’s interception was worth a lot from a competitive standpoint, as it allowed the Steelers to score 10-straight points and put the game away. As far as entertainment value? I’d say it was worth every bit of the $65 million Heyward just received in his new contract extension.
Thanks for the game-saving and laugh-inducing interception, Cam!