Plays of the Year: Jaylen Warren bowls into endzone for first career touchdown

Steel City Underground presents “Plays of the Year” featuring the top runs, catches, hits and everything else in-between from the Pittsburgh Steelers 2022 season.

Although the 2022 NFL regular season had been an up and down affair for the Pittsburgh Steelers and many other teams across the league, Week 15 gave Steelers fans another opportunity to see how valuable a talented undrafted rookie can be on a pro roster. Those that stick on a 53-man roster are the atypical athletes that many scouts overlook. Fortunately, the Steelers organization didn’t when they brought running back Jaylen Warren in.

Warren, who started off at Snow College before transferring to Utah State, finished his collegiate career at Oklahoma State. The 5’8″, 215-pound back showed in camp that he’s willing to put his head down and keep his legs moving as he runs the ball mainly north-south. He punishes defenders on initial contact and isn’t adverse to grinding for extra, hard-fought yardage.

Against the Carolina Panthers, the Steelers were able to establish a two-tiered run game with Najee Harris and Warren. Even though the Panthers are a run-heavy team themselves, they struggled to keep both Steelers rushers from earning critical yardage and getting into the end zone.

In the opening offensive series, Harris was able to cap off the drive and put the Steelers on top, 7-0, with a seven-yard touchdown run. Finding success, the Steelers offense worked the ground game well enough that they were able to get Warren the ball for a touchdown in the second quarter to go into the locker room up 14-7.

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With just over 14 minutes left on the game clock in the second quarter, Pittsburgh’s offense got the ball following a Carolina touchdown that tied the game. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who started in place on injured Kenny Pickett, led the offense on a 75 yard march down the field.

After a short pass to Zach Gentry and a decent gain on the ground by Harris, Trubisky scampered for four yards to grab the first down. Following a penalty against Kevin Dotson for a false start and a neutral zone infraction penalty against Carolina on the very next play, Trubisky found George Pickens deep left for a 38-yard catch and run to the Panthers 18-yard line.

With time running, the Steelers went no-huddle, and it was all Warren.

Warren grabbed nine yards, and then two more on consecutive plays. On first-and-goal at the Panthers seven-yard line, Warren came up just two yards short of the goal line. After a Carolina time out, Warren took the ball from Trubisky and cut to the right before firing into a Panthers defender and bursting across the goal line with a hard crack.

The rookie rusher celebrated his first career NFL touchdown with teammates on a squad that saw his worth, despite the fact he had not been selected in the 2022 NFL Draft. Warren finished with the most carries in a single regular season game he’d seen in 2022 (11) for his second-highest yards gained in a game (38). He also caught the lone pass thrown to him.

The Steelers handled the Panthers on the road, improving to 6-8 on the season with a 24-16 victory.

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