There was a lot on the line for the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 16 when they hosted the Las Vegas Raiders at Acrisure Stadium. Lose and your think hopes at the postseason were over, and on top of the playoff implications the team was dealing with honoring the late Franco Harris on the 50th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception.
Carrying the flag, literally and figuratively, for the Steelers in Week 16 was their captain, Cam Heyward. Heyward wasn’t just the emotional leader of the team, he was a force to be reckoned with on it as well.
Heyward’s stat line was incredible:
7 tackles, 4 solo, 3 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 Pass Defense, 2 QB Hits
That stat line was good enough to win him the AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors for Week 16.
This is the third time Heyward has been defensive player of the week in his career; he received he award twice in 2017. He is the third Steelers player to win it this season, joining Minkah Fitzpatrick (Week 1) and Alex Highsmith (Week 10).
If the Steelers have a prayer of making the postseason, the one thing which can’t happen is them losing a game in their final two. Those two games will both be against AFC North rivals, at the Baltimore Ravens in Week 17 and home vs. the Cleveland Browns in Week 18. During those games you can point to Heyward to be the guiding force for the Steelers both on and off the field.
Obviously, the Steelers will need help outside of their own final score if they want to make the playoffs, but the play of Heyward will be a huge part of their success, or failure, down the stretch.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Week 17 game at M&T Bank Stadium vs. the Ravens.