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.
This week, BTSC will be deciding a winner from the final four Monday and Tuesday with the ultimate champion coming on Thursday. 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 second matchup in this round to go to the finals features the Steelers Christmas Eve win over the Raiders which took down the Falcons game 93% to 7% against the Week 18 decisive victory against Cleveland which moved on 55% to 45% against the Bucs.
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 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 the second 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 18 vs. the Cleveland Browns: 28-14