The Pittsburgh Steelers emerged victorious in a thrilling matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders on “Sunday Night Football” in Week 3. The Steelers’ strong defensive performance played a crucial role in their 23-18 win at Allegiant Stadium. Let’s dive into the key takeaways from the game.
How Pittsburgh’s Defense Got It Done
The Steelers’ defense faced a tough challenge heading into the game. They had allowed the most rushing yards in the league through the first two weeks, while the Raiders boasted one of the league’s top rushers in Josh Jacobs. However, Pittsburgh’s rushing defense stepped up to the task and limited Jacobs to just 62 yards on 17 carries. Although they struggled to contain star receiver Davante Adams, the Steelers’ ability to make the Raiders one-dimensional allowed their pass rushers, led by T.J. Watt, to apply pressure on quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. The defensive backs also capitalized on opportunistic coverage. Overall, the Steelers’ defense played a pivotal role in securing the victory.
Steelers Offense Shows Signs of Life
After two weeks of lackluster offensive performances, the Steelers finally showcased glimpses of their potential. They put up their highest point total and yardage of the season. Quarterback Kenny Pickett displayed confidence and accuracy, resembling his preseason form. Pickett threw for 235 yards and two touchdowns, including a spectacular 72-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Austin III. This marked the first time in his career that Pickett threw for multiple touchdowns in a game. Offensive coordinator Matt Canada also received praise for his solid scheme and play-calling, which contributed to the team’s offensive success.
McDaniels’ Questionable Call Stings
Raiders coach Josh McDaniels made a questionable decision late in the game that ultimately impacted the outcome. Instead of going for it on fourth-and-4 from the Steelers’ 8-yard line, McDaniels opted for a field goal, cutting the Steelers’ lead to 23-18. The Steelers then obtained a first down and punted with 23 seconds remaining. Garoppolo’s subsequent interception sealed the Raiders’ loss. McDaniels’ decision to settle for a field goal instead of taking a shot at the end zone proved costly for the Raiders.
Adams Can’t Do It Alone
Davante Adams had an outstanding performance, finishing the game with 13 catches for 172 yards. However, his efforts were not enough to carry the Raiders’ offense, which struggled to find balance. The Steelers effectively stacked the box against Jacobs, limiting his impact. The Raiders’ offense relied heavily on Adams, and their lack of diversity ultimately hindered their ability to overcome the Steelers’ defensive efforts.
Las Vegas Defense Wasn’t the Problem
Contrary to popular belief, the Raiders’ defense actually held up well against the Steelers. It was the offense that failed to deliver in their home opener. The Raiders struggled to move the ball throughout the game, and Garoppolo’s ill-advised throws resulted in two interceptions that led to 10 points for the Steelers. Although the Raiders made a late push to make the game interesting, they dug themselves into a hole due to their offensive shortcomings.
Highlight of the Game
One of the standout moments of the game was Kenny Pickett’s impressive 72-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Austin III. This play showcased Pickett’s arm strength and accuracy, providing a glimpse of his potential as the Steelers’ quarterback.
In conclusion, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ strong defensive performance and improved offensive showing propelled them to a hard-fought victory over the Las Vegas Raiders. The Steelers’ ability to contain Josh Jacobs and capitalize on Garoppolo’s mistakes played a significant role in their success. Meanwhile, the Raiders’ offense struggled to find its rhythm, relying heavily on Davante Adams. Despite the Raiders’ solid defensive effort, their offensive shortcomings ultimately cost them the game. The Steelers’ win marks a turning point for their season, providing hope for their fans moving forward.