In Las Vegas, To put their offensive problems from their opening two games behind them, the Steelers only needed a trip to Las Vegas.
Only, this was not a voyage meant for leisure and repose. The Steelers were on a business trip. And Sunday night was a profitable one.
The Steelers defeated the Raiders 23–18 on Sunday night at Allegiant Stadium in front of a raucous fan base of the team. Kenny Pickett had two touchdown throws.
Head coach of the Steelers Mike Tomlin commented, “I was really proud of the effort and the playmaking.” “To ensure a triumph, we took the necessary actions. This year is still in its very early stages. We still have a lot to learn and impart, but it’s a fantastic thing to start with the win.”
Pickett recorded his first multi-touchdown pass performance of the early season, delivering scores to Calvin Austin III and Pat Freiermuth while throwing for 235 yards. Prior to this, he had only thrown two touchdown passes versus three interceptions.
“Perfection is unattainable,”
expressed Pickett. “I will constantly want to make improvements and go back to the drawing board for some areas. However, I believe that going on the road and winning back-to-back primetime games is a huge step for us as a team.
Both teams searched for an opening early in the game, and it was punch-counterpunch.
The Raiders (1-2) forced the Steelers (2-1) to go three and out on their opening two plays. On their second drive, they took the lead with a 32-yard touchdown pass from Garoppolo to Devante Adams on a play-action fourth-and-inches play.
The Steelers, who had not yet secured a first down, decided not to pursue a drive on their subsequent possession.
With the score tied at 7-7 on a third-and-7 play, Pickett connected with Austin for a 72-yard touchdown pass between the hash marks, 40 yards down the field behind cornerback Marcus Peters and safety Marcus Epps.
On his fourth pass attempt of the game, Pickett completed his first touchdown of the season, surpassing the longest of the season for the Steelers, which was a 71-yarder to George Pickens against the Browns previous week.
Levi Wallace intercepted quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo at the Las Vegas 31 to deny the Raiders a chance to grab the lead early in the second quarter.
That helped set the stage for Chris Boswell to make a 43-yard field goal with 8:33 left in the second quarter, giving the Steelers a 10-7 lead.
With 1:56 left in the first half, the Steelers forced a three-and-out on Las Vegas’ next possession, drove to the Raiders’ 24 on their next possession, but stalled out and settled for another Boswell field goal, this one from 42 yards, to give them a 13-7 lead.
When the Raiders regained possession of the ball and advanced to midfield, T.J. Watt forced another Las Vegas punt to finish the half on third down, his second sack of the game.
In the Raiders’
opening two games, Garoppolo had not been sacked. Four times throughout this game, the Steelers got to him. After three games, Watt has the most sacks of any player in Steelers history with six.
When the Steelers forced the Raiders to go three-and-out on their first play of the second half, Las Vegas punter A.J. Cole flipped the field with a big punt that went out of bounds at the Pittsburgh 9.
But it didn’t matter because early in the third quarter, the Steelers led 16–7 when Pickett and Pickens connected for a 32-yard gain on third-and–5. This moved the ball to midfield and set up Boswell’s 57-yard field goal.
When Las Vegas got the ball back, Watt again scored, forcing Garoppolo to make a mistake in passing as he closed in. When Garoppolo attempted to pass the ball to Jakobi Meyers downfield, Patrick Peterson got there first and intercepted it before it went out of bounds at the Pittsburgh 19.
With 3:56 left in the third quarter, Pickett fired a 13-yard touchdown pass to Freiermuth to give the Steelers a 23-7 lead. The team then marched 81 yards, highlighted by chunk plays of 17 yards by Pickens, 16 yards on a screen by Jaylen Warren, and a 17-yard run by Najee Harris.
With 5:41 left in the game, the Raiders switched to a hurry-up offense, but they lost the ball on downs early in the fourth quarter and then drove 80 yards for a 2-yard touchdown pass from Garoppolo to Adams. Adams caught 15 catches on 19 targets for 172 yards and two touchdowns.
Meyers was the recipient of a two-point conversion pass from Garoppolo, which reduced the Steelers’ lead to 23-15. The Raiders recovered the ball at their own 48 after Nate Hobbs broke up Pickett’s third-down pass to Freiermuth, which foiled the Steelers’ attempt to gain additional time on the clock.
On fourth down, the Raiders were stopped and Carlson attempted a field goal; however, DeMarvin Leal was called for a personal foul during the kick, which gave the Raiders fresh life at the Pittsburgh 14. With 2:22 left in the game, the Raiders attempted a field goal from 26 yards out, but were unable to convert and the lead was now only 23-18.
“You simply must grasp them. Linebacker Alex Highsmith stated, “That was the mindset.” There was no doubt in our minds that we would go out again. But we had to keep them under check. Although we weren’t flawless, we did make progress.”
Wallace intercepted Garoppolo twice to end the game, but not before the Steelers gained one first down and made the Raiders use all three timeouts before kicking the ball back to Las Vegas with 12 seconds left.
“We must take away the ball and create an offensive opportunity so they can score points,” Wallace stated. “Whenever possible, we would like to place them on short fields. It’s good when we can accomplish that.”
1.Which players made a big difference in the Steelers’ victory over the Raiders?
T.J. Watt recorded numerous sacks and Kenny Pickett threw two touchdown passes to lead the Steelers to win.
2.Which team won the game, the Raiders or the Steelers?
The final result was 23–18 in favor of the Steelers over the Raiders.
3.What was the performance of Kenny Pickett during the game, and with whom did he connect for touchdowns?
With 235 passing yards and two touchdown passes to Pat Freiermuth and Calvin Austin III, Kenny Pickett had a solid game.
4.In this game, how did T.J. Watt help the Steelers defense?
Taking numerous sacks and forcing turnovers, including a crucial interception, T.J. Watt had an outstanding day.
5.What was the game-changing moment that put the Steelers ahead?
Kenny Pickett’s 72-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Austin III gave the Steelers a 7–7 lead, and that was the game-changing play.
6.Levi Wallace had a number of interceptions during the game; what was the significance of those interceptions?
Levi Wallace had two interceptions, which prevented the Raiders from having any opportunities to score, which had a big effect on the Steelers’ defense.
7.When Jimmy Garoppolo hadn’t been sacked in prior games, what did the Steelers defense do differently to cause him to be sacked many times?
With T.J. Watt leading the way, the Steelers defense was successful in pressing Jimmy Garoppolo and recording sacks. That was a big difference from other games.
8.Which Steelers offensive and defensive philosophies were most effective in this game?
Securing points by field goals and making deep passes were the main offensive strategies. The Steelers’ defensive strategy was to pressure the opposition quarterback and force errors.
9.What role did Chris Boswell’s field goals play in the outcome of the match?
Chris Boswell’s field goals were essential in establishing the Steelers’ lead and keeping them ahead in the contest.
10.Who were the important players in the closing seconds of the game and how did it end?
Wallace picked up two interceptions on Garoppolo to seal the victory. With 12 seconds remaining, the Steelers kicked the ball back to the Raiders after using all three of their timeouts and managing to get one first down.