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, 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.
Each day this week, 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 last matchup in this round before things continue next week features the Steelers Christams Eve comeback versus a road NFC victory which won 51% to 49% in the play-in round.
Week 16 vs. the Las Vegas Raiders: 13-10
The Steelers and the Raiders entered their primetime matchup on Christmas Eve with identical 6–8 records with slim hops of making the postseason hanging in the balance. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception, The temperature at kickoff was 9° with 21 mph winds.
Winning the coin toss and opting to receive, the Raiders possessed the ball for more than eight minutes on a 14-play drive. After converting a 3rd & 16 which pushed the ball into the Steelers red zone, the Raiders had their third conversion on third down when Derek Carr hit a hunter Renfrow for a 14-yard touchdown.
The Steelers failed to cross midfield on their first drive before punting it back to the Raiders who also punted five plays later. The Steelers took over at their own 25-yard line and crossed midfield as the first quarter expired. Failing to convert a 3rd & 2 on the Raiders 23-yard line, Chris Boswell missed a 43-yard field goal giving the ball back to the Raiders.
The Steelers defense forced a punt which pinned the Steelers at their own 12-yard line. Moving the ball to the Raiders 26, the Steelers attempted another field goal, this time being successful from 44 yards with 1:49 left in the half. The Raiders were faced with a 3rd & 10 with 0:32 left in the half when Derek Carr hit Darren Waller for a 34-yard gain and set up a 40-yard field goal with seconds remaining and taking a 10–3 lead into the half.
The Steelers first drive the second half moved down to the Raiders 36-yard line before Kenny Pickett was hit as he threw and had his first interception since before the Steelers bye week. The Raiders returned the pick 24 yards just past midfield. But on the very next play, the Steelers defense responded with an interception by Arthur Maulet which gave the Steelers the ball back at their own 44-yard line.
The Steelers ensuing drive stalled at the Raiders 34-yard line and Chris Boswell was unsuccessful on the 52-yard field goal. The Raiders crossed midfield on their next possession before Minkah Fitzpatrick came up with an interception setting the Steelers up at their own 29-yard line. Unable to gain a single yard, the Steelers had a three and out with just over four minutes left in the third quarter. After one first down, Derrick Carr was thrown for a 13-yards loss on the sack by Alex Highsmith on the final play of the third quarter and a 29-yard punt after the team switched ends set the Steelers up close to midfield. Ten plays later Chris Boswell was successful from 40 yards and the Steelers cut the lead to 10–6 with just under 10 minutes remaining in the game.
The Raiders managed only one first down on their next possession before punting back to the Steelers and the two teams then swapped three and outs. Taking over on their own 24-yard line with 2:55 left, the next eight plays went to either Najee Harris or Pat Freiermuth and set the Steelers up for a 4th & 1 at the Raiders 15-yard line with 0:55 remaining.
After getting the first down or a quarterback sneak and using their final timeout, Kenny Pickett connected with George Pickens for the 14-yard touchdown with 0:46 remaining.
With not much time to get into field goal range, the Raiders second offensive play saw a Cam Sutton interception where the Steelers took over on their own 19-yard line was 0:29 left. But with Las Vegas holding all three timeouts, the Steelers still needed a first down to end the game. After a rush for no gain by Najee Harris on first down and the Raiders using their first timeout, the Steeler sealed the victory on a Connor Heyward end around for 21 yards and the Steelers brought home the win in honor of the late Franco Harris.
View highlights of the Week 16 victory over the Raiders via the Steelers YouTube channel HERE.
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.
So there are the two games highlighted in the final matchup of this round 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 16 vs. the Las Vegas Raiders: 13-10
Week 13 at the Atlanta Falcons: 19-16