Plays of the Year: Cam Heyward grabs first NFL career interception

Steel City Underground presents “Plays of the Year” featuring the tops runs, catches, hits and everything else in-between from the Pittsburgh Steelers 2020 season.

The Pittsburgh Steelers got off to a slow start in their 2020 NFL regular season opener against the New York Giants on Monday Night Football but were able to utilize a quick, well-designed defense to give Ben Roethlisberger time to shake off the rust, test his arm, and lead the offense.

Traditionally, the Steelers start slow.

That didn’t change in MetLife Stadium where the audio technician(s) piped boos over the public address system when the Steelers were on the field, as fans were barred due to COVID-19 concerns. (The NFL allowed teams to use fake crowd noise this season.)

However, Pittsburgh did enter the locker room at the half with a lead 20-10.

Things started to click in the third quarter as a veteran Steelers player literally stole the wind from the sails of a 87-yard, 19 play offensive drive led by Giants quarterback Daniel Jones. Pittsburgh’s up-tempo pressure on the Giants’ offensive line had them gassed a bit as New York moved down the field, slowly and methodically.

Jones had his team in the red zone, ready to strike, when pressure got the best of him.

Jones took the snap and rolled left, immediately met by Bud Dupree who played with freight train-like aggressiveness all night. Sensing the sack, Jones, from the four yard line, lofted a desperation lame duck forward pass only to have it land in the hands of Steelers defensive end Cameron “Cam” Heyward.

“I saw (Dupree) laying him down,” Heyward said following the game. ” I tried to make a good play and float to the ball.”

Upon review, Dupree did, in fact, get at least a finger on the ball before Heyward make a less-than-beautiful pick in the end zone. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, however, because the interception kept the Giants off the scoreboard.

“We got to be an opportunistic defense,” Heyward admitted. ” We got sacks by guys who don’t usually get sacks and interceptions by guys who don’t usually get interceptions.”

The interception was Heyward’s first career pick since entering the NFL in 2011 despite his 30 pass defenses heading into the game.

Roethlisberger marched the Steelers offense 62 yards down the field following Heyward’s heads-up play that culminated in a successful Chris Boswell field goal to put Pittsburgh up, 19-10. The Steelers would ultimately win the game by a final score of 26-16 to start their season 1-0.

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