Coming into this week, all the talk around the Steelers was the offensive struggles, and how the offense had failed to score 16 points in a game. Well, Austin 3:16 says the Steelers just whipped the Raiders’ ass.
Calvin Austin, that is- but shoutout to the legendary Stone Cold Steve Austin and his legendary promo from King of the Ring.
Yes, in the first trip to Las Vegas in franchise history, the Steelers pulled out their first road win against the Raiders since 1995, improving to 2-1.
In typical Pittsburgh fashion, though, the Steelers made fans sweat out the win. The first two drives of the game was more of what has become the norm for the Steelers- consecutive three-and-outs. The defense was getting torched early and often by Davante Adams, who caught a touchdown on a fourth and one play action pass from Jimmy Garoppolo. The secondary bit on the play fake, and Adams got behind the defense.
The ensuing drive, though, the glass shattered as Kenny Pickett hit Calvin Austin III down the seam for a 72 yard touchdown pass, which marked the second straight week the Steelers had a touchdown pass of 70+ yards. The Steelers would add three field goals to make the game 16-7 before Pat Freiermuth recorded a touchdown reception in the third quarter to give Pittsburgh a 23-7 lead.
For the rest of the majority of the game, the Steelers hit the Raiders with stunner after stunner like the Texas Rattlesnake himself. T.J. Watt sacked Garoppolo twice, raising his total to six on the season. The Steelers picked off three Garoppolo passes, as well. Levi Wallace snagged the first and third interception, rebounding from his worst game as a Steeler with arguably his best. Patrick Peterson was responsible for the second interception for the Steelers, which was basically a pop fly thrown up by Garoppolo.
The Steelers also got help from their depth pieces for the second straight game. Markus Golden had his second sack in as many games, and Keeanu Benton displayed a beautiful swim move and got his first career sack. The Steelers got constant pressure on Garoppolo all night, and it was a big part of their defense coming up huge in the win.
For quarterback Kenny Pickett, it was arguably his best game as a pro. He went 16-of-28 for 235 yards and two touchdowns with a passer rating of 108.5. This was also his first career game with multiple touchdown passes. George Pickens had another nice game, gaining 75 yards on four catches.
Was Pickett flawless? No. He still struggled off platform and missed multiple throws while on the run. He also threw what would have been a walk-in touchdown for the Raiders had Marcus Peters held onto the ball. The run game also helped Pickett and complimented the offense. They totaled over 100 yards on the ground, including Pickett himself showing off his ability to run. Najee Harris only had 65 yards, but that is a big step in the right direction form the first two weeks. Jaylen Warren was his usual dual-threat self with 52 total yards on 11 touches.
The offense is still flawed, as is the team as a whole. The defense allowed Davante Adams to catch 13 passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns. Mike Tomlin still lives in his fears more than any coach, which was evident at the end of the first half when he decided to run out the clock when the Steelers had 40 seconds and two timeouts. The Steelers are far from fixed, especially offensively. However, in spite of all of their flaws, they are 2-1 and in first place in the AFC North.