The Pittsburgh Steelers 2023 offseason has reached the six-week period of no activities leading up to training camp. With extra time to think about things during the “no news is good news” time of the calendar, there have been several moments from the 2022 season which may have fallen out of some of our memories. But if we were to look back at the Steelers season, the first one of the post-Ben Roethlisberger era, what was the best game for the Steelers?
Rather than simply answer the question, we have plenty of time to come to this decision. Instead of throwing out all the nominees and leave one big poll, these games are going to face off in a bracket-style contests to see which one BTSC chooses as the best Steelers game of 2022.
First, I’m specifically using the term best and not defining it in any way for the benefit of everyone involved. Perhaps what is the best for one doesn’t need to be what the best is for another. Maybe one game someone attended in person and appreciates it even more while another game saw a specific great play from a favorite player. Maybe one fan enjoys games that come down to the wire and the Steelers pull it off, while others feel much better when the Steelers have a little bit more of a cushion. Exactly what you feel is best is completely up to you.
To set up how this will work, we are only going to include Steelers victories from the 2022 season. Can we really say that their best game came in a loss? Rather than waste our time throwing those into the mix, we’re going to stick with the nine wins from the Steelers 2022 campaign.
But with nine games comes an uneven bracket. For this reason, there will be one play-in game, featured today, in order to get down to eight contests and a nice even bracket. I seeded the games without putting much thought into it simply to give matchups.
Starting today, BTSC will be deciding a winner to move on each day for the next week until the best game is determined. Make sure you vote in the poll at the bottom of the article to help determine which game moves on to the next round.
The first match up, the play-in game, features the two victories for the Steelers in the 2022 season where they faced NFC South teams on the road: Week 13 at the Falcons and Week 15 at the Panthers.
Week 13 at the Atlanta Falcons: 19-16
The Steelers traveled to Atlanta attempting to stack wins for the first time in the 2022 NFL season after winning on the road in Week 12. With the Falcons entering the game at 5–7, the Steelers were one-point underdogs on the road with a 4–7 record. One of the most memorable things from this game was the nasty Najee Harris stiff arm which occurred in the first quarter.
The Steelers received the opening kickoff and methodically moved the ball down to the 23-yard line of the Falcons. On first down, Kenny Pickett took a 5-yard loss which stalled the Steelers drive and brought out Matthew Wright for a 46 yard field goal attempt in his final game before Chris Boswell returned from the Reserve/Injured List. Glancing the kick off the right upright, it still went through and Steelers led 3-0 just over halfway through the first quarter.
After not allowing the Falcons across midfield and forcing a punt, the Steelers took over at their own 14-yard line and moved the ball once again to the Atlanta 28 for another 46-yard field goal from Wright early in the second quarter. The Falcons answered with a 50-yard field goal of their own to bring the score to 6–3 with less than 10 minutes remaining in the first half.
The Steelers answered the Falcons field goal with a four-play touchdown drive highlighted by a 57-yard catch and run connection from Kenny Pickett to Pat Freiermuth. After a false start penalty on the next play, Pickett connected with Connor Heyward for his first NFL touchdown on a 17-yard score.
Their next offensive play, the Falcons flipped the field as Marcus Mariota connected with Drake London on a 37 yard pass. Facing a 3rd & 14 from the Steelers 42-yard line, the Falcons gained 9 yards which was enough for them to connect on a 51-yard field goal and bring the score to 13–6.
The Steelers once again crossed midfield but settled for a 48-yard field goal with just over 1:30 remaining in the half to take a 16–6 lead. Keeping the Falcons in their own end of the field, the Steelers forced a punt and ran one play from deep in their own end with 0:30 remaining in the half as this was the only drive where the Steelers did not put up points before halftime.
The second half started with more of the same as the Steelers kept the Falcons in their own end of the field to force a punt and took over at their own 10-yard line for their first drive of the second half. Using more than 7:30 minutes of clock, the Steelers reached the red zone but settled for a 33-yard field goal to push their lead to 19–6.
The Falcons only needed eight plays for their first touchdown of the game which came on a 7-yard pass from Marcus Mariota to MyCole Pruitt with just under one minute left to go in the third quarter. Holding a six-point lead, the Steelers had their first three and out of the game and Pressley Harvin‘s 47-yard punt had the Falcons starting at their own 26-yard line.
Using more than nine minutes of clock and 13 offensive plays, the Falcons reached the Steelers 10-yard line only to have to settle for the short field goal. Clinging to a three-point lead with just under 5:30 remaining, the Steelers gained several first downs and moved the ball to the Atlanta 35-yard line with less than a minute remaining while forcing the Falcons to use all three of their timeouts.
Rather than attempt a 53-yard field goal, the Steelers chose to take the delay of game penalty and attempt to pin the Falcons deep in their own territory. In only his second punt of the day, Pressley Harvin only had the kick go 38 yards on the stat sheet but pinned the Falcons at their own 2-yard line with 0:42 left in the game and no timeouts.
On the Falcons first offensive play, Minkah Fitzpatrick picked off the Marcus Mariota pass and rather than take the ball into the end zone to give it back to the Falcons, he simply ran out of bounds for the Steelers to run one last play in victory formation.
View highlights of the Week 13 victory over the Falcons via the Steelers YouTube channel HERE.
Week 15 at the Carolina Panthers: 24-16
The Steelers were looking to get back on the winning track when they brought their 5–8 record to Carolina to face the 5–8 Panthers who were 2.5 point home favorites. Coming off a 223-yard rushing performance over the Seattle Seahawks the previous week, the Panthers were held to only 21 rushing yards by the Steelers.
Holding the Panthers to three and out to start the game, Mitch Trubisky took over the offense in his final start of the season for injured Kenny Pickett. Working more than seven minutes off the clock, the Steelers had a 12-play touchdown drive capped off with a Najee Harris 7-yard run.
The Panthers answered on the next drive by converting both a 3rd & 11 and 3rd & 14 before an impressive strike on 3rd & 5 for a touchdown to D.J. Moore. With the game tied 7–7 and the Steelers beginningtheir second offensive drive of the game, they answered with a 10-play drive which ended in a Jaylen Warren two-yard touchdown run.
With the Steelers leading 14–7, the first half ended with five striaght punts with three coming from Carolina and two by the Steelers. Coming out of halftime, the Steelers first possession ran 11:43 off the clock as the Steelers ran 21 plays with the final being a 1-yard Mitch Trubisky touchdown run. With a 21–7 lead and only three minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Steelers surrendered a long catch-and-run to Chuba Hubbard which put the Panthers on the edge of field goal range. But after back-to-back sacks by Alex Highsmith and Cam Heyward left the Panthers with a 4th & 27 at the end of the third quarter, it appeared the Steelers would receive a punt after flipping ends of the field.
During the commercial break, the Steelers’ Marcus Allen was called for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty for entering the other team’s huddle on the sideline. So instead of a 4th & 27, the Panthers were given a first down at the Steelers 34-yard line. Moving the ball down to the 10-yard line, the Steelers defense held and the Panthers settled for a short field goal to cut the Steelers lead to 21–10.
After the Steelers offense went three and out, the Steelers defense was put in a tough position when a 27-yard pass interference penalty on Cam Sutton set the Panthers up at the Steelers 4-yard line. After a 2-yard gain, Alex Highsmith tackled D’Onta Foreman for a 2-yard loss on second down followed by Cam Heyward and T.J. Watt teaming up for a sack on third down. The Panthers settled for another field goal with less than half the fourth quarter remaining.
The Steelers offense was able to bleed more than five minutes off the clock on a 13-play drive which ended with a Chris Boswell 50-yard field goal with just over a minute remaining in the game. With the Panthers scrambling to make up the 11-point deficit, they moved the ball to the Steelers 34-yard line to kick a field goal with 0:23 left in the game.
On the ensuing onside kick, Diontae Johnson unwisely attempted to field the ball before it had gone 10 yards. Fortunately, George Pickens was there to make the recovery and the Steelers finished the game in victory formation to hold on to the eight-point win.
View highlights of the Steelers Week 15 victory over the Panthers via the Steelers YouTube channel HERE.
So there are the two games highlighted in this first matchup to determine the Steelers best game of the 2022 season. Is there something else that stands out to you from either of these games? Make sure you leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Which game was the better Steelers game in 2022?
This poll is closed
Week 13 at the Atlanta Falcons: 19-16
Week 15 at the Carolina Panthers: 24-16