Pickens led the team with 107 yards receiving on five catches. He is becoming the Steelers’ top receiver, and Kenny Pickett’s favorite target if he isn’t already. The mental lapses need to become less frequent, but the Steelers aren’t where they are without Pickens.
Welcome back, No. 18. Johnson had five receptions for 79 yards, including a 49 yard catch-and-run that helped set up the Jaylen Warren touchdown. Having the “Gin and Juice” duo of Johnson and Pickens will be a great thing for this offense going forward.
Credit where it’s due to Pickett. He didn’t have a jaw-dropping stat line, but he was very efficient, didn’t turn the ball over, and made some good throws late to help guide the Steelers to the win.
Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren
Combining both Harris and Warren because they complimented each other well, and I’d say the same thing about each of them. Both ran downhill really well in this game, and the Steelers won because of their respective scores in the fourth quarter.
The offensive line
We could honestly put the offensive line in the JV category for multiple reasons. There were the usual early struggles, but late in the game, they rose to the occasion. Mason Cole was crucial on the Najee Harris touchdown, helping communicate what he saw defensively to Kenny Pickett and helping lead the way on the Najee Harris score. Dan Moore had some nice reps in the run game, as well. The Rams sacked Pickett twice, so it obviously wasn’t a perfect day, but when it mattered most, they were big.
The Steelers’ offense came alive in the second half with three touchdown drives. Canada deserves some credit for that.
The best defensive player in football was doing what he does best and changing the outcome of the game. He didn’t record a sack, but he picked off Matthew Stafford on the first play of the second half to set up the Steelers’ first touchdown.
The preseason hero earned his first career sack and had an additional tackle to go with it.
Fitzpatrick has played in the box a lot, and he has played the role very well. He led the team in tackles, and had multiple run stuffs in the backfield.
Joey Porter Jr
Whenever Porter was tested, he came up big. He locked down Puka Nacua while matched up with him in man coverage, as well as Cooper Kupp on a third down play that resulted in a Rams punt. The rookie is getting more playing time, and taking full advantage of it.
It’s beyond old at this point. He got beat on the Tutu Atwell touchdown, he was beat on the Cooper Kupp two-point conversion, and was beat multiple times by Puka Nacua. He cannot keep getting valuable playing time.
Can I just copy and paste what I said about Levi Wallace? Peterson was beat less frequently, but he had a penalty while in coverage against Kupp because he was about to get beat, and Puka Nacua had a few receptions against him, as well.
The rush defense
There isn’t one single person to blame, so we’ll just group them all into one. Royce Freeman ran for 66 yards on nearly six yards per carry, and Darrell Henderson added 61 yards and a touchdown. The Steelers gave up 135 yards on the ground- that’s simply not good enough.