2023 Steelers Season Recall: Pittsburgh edges Green Bay for sixth win

Steel City Underground presents our 2023 Steelers Recall: A Look Back at Pittsburgh Steelers games and storylines from last season.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were a team with no identity through the start of the 2023 season. However, by Week 10 against the Green Bay Packers, it appeared that the team had found its stride: run the football and keep games close with tough defense.

For their third-straight home game, the Steelers were hoping to stack wins following a disappointing loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars and an impressive, yet tight showing against the Tennessee Titans. Pittsburgh was able to get off to a hot start and score on the opening offensive drive. The defense, embracing their own opportunities, denied Green Bay a last-ditch effort at the end zone with an interception.

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For a second straight week, the Steelers offense started with the football first – and for a second straight week, they were able to score on their opening drive. The nine-play 75-yard drive culminated in a four-yard Najee Harris touchdown.

Both Harris and Jaylen Warren had quite the showing. The duo combined for 183 yards of rushing out of the 205-yard team rushing total and both added a rushing touchdown apiece. They followed the script that head coach Mike Tomlin had insisted would be used against the Packers: run the ball.

Harris recorded the longest run (24 yards) while Warren posted a 20-yard breakout. Both carried the ball nearly an identical number of times. Both scored. For the first time in his career Jaylen Warren topped 100 yards rushing in a single game, besting his previous week’s career high of 88 yards by carrying the ball 15 times for 101 yards (6.7 average). Harris carried the ball 16 times for 82 yards (5.1 average) which also topped his previous season-high of 69 yards the previous week.

The duo ran 30 times for 166 yards against the Titans in the previous game, combining for 371 yards on the ground and three touchdowns in these two games.

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Second-year Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett went a sixth consecutive game without turning the ball over. Pickett finished the game 14-of-23 for 126 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions.

The defense, embracing their own opportunities, denied Green Bay a last-ditch effort in the end zone. Patrick Peterson provided a spark that was missing with Minkah Fitzpatrick out of the lineup. The 33-year-old veteran cornerback had maybe his best game in a Steelers uniform, blocking an extra point attempt plus tipping a pass that was intercepted by Keanu Neal in the endzone.

Safety Damontae Kazee took what may have been a down-to-the-wire comeback touchdown away from the Packers to run out the clock. An unfortunate late hit resulted in special teams coach Danny Smith getting laid out as Kazee and the player defending the play flew into the sidelines. Kicker Chris Boswell was up defending his coach and teammates, which was interesting to see from a guy that is so soft-spoken.


T.J. Watt continued to climb the record books, passing his brother J.J. Watt to become second all-time in number of sacks within a player’s first 100 career games. Watt’s sack of Jordan Love moved him to 88 career sacks in 96 games, only behind Hall of Famer Reggie White (who had 105 sacks in his first 100 games.)

Unfortunately, injuries continued to take their toll. Inside linebacker Kwon Alexander suffered a season-ending injury, the second Steelers inside linebacker to go on IR in as many weeks, joining Cole Holcomb who was lost for the season the week before against the Titans. Peterson was already filling in at safety, a position he’d never played, while the defense rotated in Mark Robinson, Trenton Thompson (who’d been activated from the practice squad) and called on Elijah Riley in the dime package.

The results were mixed, as Green Bay kept the game close throughout and took their first lead with 3:07 remaining in the game. Down 19-17, Chris Boswell would kick field goals of 49 and 35 yards, capitalizing on both of Love’s interceptions to win the game.

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The 23-19 final saw Pittsburgh improve to 6-3, and trailing the Baltimore Ravens by a half game for the top spot in the AFC North. However there were still major questions going forward, including how to cover for defensive injuries and if the lack of a passing attack (126 yards) could be sustained with the renewed focus on running the ball.

Those answers would come quickly as the team traveled to Cleveland for their Week 11 matchup with the Browns. We will cover that game next week as our Recall series continues.

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