5 Steelers surprises in Saturday’s win over the Raiders

Each week our SCU staff and contributors picks the “surprises” from the Pittsburgh Steelers latest matchup. Check out more below to see which plays and situations surprised us the most!

On Christmas Eve, the Pittsburgh Steelers hosted the Las Vegas Raiders for their Week 16 matchup at Acrisure Stadium.

The Steelers would win their seventh game of the season by a margin of 13-10. Here are some of the surprises from that game.

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Franco’s Passing

Though this wasn’t on Saturday, this was a gut punch earlier in the week, as former Steelers running back Franco Harris passed away days before a set of planned ceremonies commemorating the 50th anniversary of his Immaculate Reception, and retirement of his number 32 jersey, for the game on Christmas Eve.

This made the celebration bittersweet, as Franco was going to be celebrated either way, but now wasn’t with us to do so in person. However, the Steelers would make sure to honor his memory.

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Over 100: Again

The Steelers topped the 100-yard rushing mark for the sixth time in their last seven games since the bye week, this time with 106 yards on the ground.

Najee Harris led all rushers with 53 yards, while Connor Heyward added a 21-yard long that sealed the game at the end, when a crucial first down was needed.

Hats off to Matt Canada and company for focusing on the run game, which had been a weakness up until the bye week.

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Defense. Defense. Defense.

The Steelers defense showed up in huge moments against the Raiders.

They would hold RB Josh Jacobs to 44 yards on 15 carries, and Las Vegas to at total of 58 yards in the game.

Star WR Davante Adams was limited to two catches for 15 yards (on nine targets!) while TE Darren Waller, who led all Raiders receivers, caught four passes for 58 yards.

Pittsburgh would deck Derek Carr, who threw three interceptions – including one in the Raiders final possession, which sealed their fate. He would finish the game completing 53.3% of his passes for 174 yards, 1 touchdown, 3 interceptions and a 42.2 QB rating.

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Final Drive

The Steelers offense was poor through most of the game, to say the least. They generated a total of three points in the first half, with two shorter drives ending in missed field goals until Chris Boswell converted another in the early portion of the fourth quarter.

The Steelers then had a three-and-out, before Kenny Pickett and company got the ball back with 2:55 remaining in the game.

Pickett would then orchestrate a game-winning drive that most Steelers fans had been spoiled with seeing routinely when Ben Roethlisberger was still playing. Pickett would go 5 of 7 for 52 yards, finishing the 10-play, 76-yard drive with a touchdown pass to fellow rookie WR George Pickens with under one minute left in the game.

Pickett’s QB rating during that drive? 132.14.

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Ravens Game Flexed

This news also dropped outside of “Saturday” but was part of the aftermath of a strong primetime showing by the Steelers in this game.

Previously, the Steelers home game against the Bengals was flexed out of the Sunday Night Football spot in Week 11. Now it looks like they are once again worthy of the nationally broadcast game, as their 1 o’clock kickoff this Sunday has been moved back to primetime on NBC.

Consider us surprised at the news!

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