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 next match up features the first and last home wins of the 2022 season.
Week 6 vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 20-18
The Steelers entered Week 6 on a four-game losing streak for the first home start of Kenny Pickett‘s NFL career. Taking on the 3–2 Buccaneers and Tom Brady, the Steelers were down multiple players in the secondary as Minkah Fitzpatrick, Cam Sutton, and Levi Wallace all missed the game due to injury.
After holding the Buccaneers to three and out on their first possession, the Steelers put together an 11-play drive where Kenny Pickett had his first passing touchdown to Najee Harris. With the Buccaneers answering with a field goal, the Steelers could not manage a first down on their second drive as they had their own three and out.
With the Buccaneers threatening at the Steelers 1-yard line, Larry Ogunjobi threw Leonard Fournette for a 3-yard loss and Cam Heyward sacked Tom Brady to force another Tampa Bay field goal. The Steelers put together their own drive which ultimately stalled and Chris Boswell‘s 55 yard field goal hit the crossbar and bounced through for the Steelers to take a 10–6 lead.
Forcing another Tampa Bay three and out, the Steelers answered with one of their own followed by each team having another drive ending in a punt before the end of the half. But on the Steelers final punt from their own 15-yard line, it wasn’t only a 42-yard kick with a 6-yard return. With 0:23 left in the half, the Buccaneers completed a 15-yard pass and were able to spike the ball to set up a 54-yard field goal just before the half to bring the score to 10-9.
The Steelers came out of halftime and had an 89-yard kick return from Steven Sims which set them up on the Tampa Bay 10-yard line. Unfortunately, the Steelers couldn’t cash in and settled for a short Chris Boswell field goal. The Buccaneers answered with a long drive of their own but also had to settle for a short field goal to bring the score to 13–12.
The Steelers next offensive play saw Kenny Beckett get slammed to the turf and exit the game in the NFL’s concussion protocol. Mitch Trubisky came into the game and moved the Steelers from their own 15-yard line to close to midfield before being forced to punt. With the next three drives all resulting in punts, the Steelers turned their first drive of the fourth quarter into a Chase Claypool touchdown which was set up by 45-yard catch-and-run from Mitch Trubisky to Connor Heyward on a play where they caught the Buccaneers defense with too many players on the field.
Down eight points with just under 10 minutes remaining in the game, the Buccaneers had a five minute drive which ended in a Leonard Fournette touchdown catch. But the two-point conversion pass fell incomplete and the Steelers held onto a two-point lead with 4:38 remaining in the game. Converting two long third down passes to Chase Claypool, the Steelers were able to run out the clock to preserve the victory.
View highlights of the Week 6 victory over the Buccaneers via the Steelers YouTube channel HERE.
Week 18 vs. the Cleveland Browns: 28-14
The Steelers entered the final week of the 2022 NFL season with an 8–8 record but still alive the postseason. Needing a win and some help, the Steelers were facing the 7–9 Browns who had already been eliminated from the postseason.
Keeping the Browns in their own end of the field on the opening position of the game, the Steelers returned a short punt for additional 12 yards and took over at their own 33. On a 3rd & 8 from the Cleveland 34-yard line, Kenny Pickett had a 32-yard catch and run connection with Diontae Johnson which came up just short of the goal line. After Najee Harris appeared to be in the end zone but was ruled down, the Steelers chose rather than to challenge to quickly run a quarterback sneak which also did not find the end zone. Unfortunately, Najee Harris had the ball stripped on the next play and the Steelers six-minute drive all the way to the Cleveland 1-yard line ended with no points on the board.
After each team traded two punts apiece, the Browns were the first team on the scoreboard when Deshaun Watson connected for a 10-yard touchdown to David Njoku with 6:27 remaining and a half. The Steelers answered with a touchdown of their own when on a 3rd & 15 Kenny Pickett found George Pickens for a 31-yard touchdown with 1:47 remaining. On the Browns second offensive play of the ensuing possession, Deshaun Watson was intercepted by Levi Wallace and the Steelers were set up close to midfield with 1:11 left in the half. The Steelers managed to move the ball close enough for a 49-yard Chris Boswell field goal to take a 10–7 lead just before halftime.
The Steelers took the second half kickoff and kept the ball nearly 6 minutes as they got as far as the Cleveland 10-yard line but settled for another Boswell field goal. On the Browns first possession of the second half, a 3rd & 18 from their own 33-yard line turned into a DeMonte Kazee interception and set the Steelers up at the Cleveland 25. Six plays later Najee Harris rushed in for a 4-yard touchdown and a 20–7 Steelers lead.
After the two teams exchanged three and outs, the Browns first position of the fourth quarter moved deep into Pittsburgh territory on a 36-yard completion to Amari Cooper. After a heinous roughing the passer call on Cam Heyward, the Browns drive was able to stay alive and Deshaun Watson hit Nick Chubb for a 2-yard touchdown to bring the score to 20–14.
Receiving the ball with 10:11 left in the game and holding onto a six-point lead, the Steelers ran 5 1/2 minutes off the clock and finished the drive with a Derek Watt 1-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion from Kenny Pickett to Diontae Johnson gave the Steelers a 28–14 lead.
Running almost 4 minutes off the clock and just into Steelers territory, the final two plays of the game consisted of an 11-yard sack by Alex Highsmith and a 7-yard Cam Heyward sack to seal the victory.
View highlights of the Steelers Week 18 victory over the Browns 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 6 vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 20-18
Week 18 vs. the Cleveland Browns: 28-14