The Pittsburgh Steelers clawed out another victory in Week 10 of the 2023 NFL season. The Green Bay Packers offense, with quarterback Jordan Love, was driving down the field with time running out. Trailing 23-19, the Packers snapped the ball with three seconds to go and Love was picked off by safety, Damontae Kazee which led to Pittsburgh securing another victory. Steelers Head Coach, Mike Tomlin initially joked about how easy the game was before digging into another gritty performance by his team to keep themselves well within a playoff race.
Pittsburgh started the game with the ball after Green Bay differed on the opening coin toss and the Steelers came out of the gate quickly. A heavy dose of the ground game with Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren resulted in a nine-play, 75-yard drive with Harris scoring a walk-in touchdown to open the scoring.
After Green Bay responded with a score of their own, Pittsburgh responded with an 11-play, 60-yard drive with Warren closing it out with a nifty 16-yard run that included him spinning off of Packers defenders into the end zone.
The Green Bay offense and defense began to settle in after that making the game much closer as the first quarter began to progress. Pittsburgh lost linebacker Kwon Alexander to a what Tomlin called a “serious lower body injury” in the first defensive series of the contest, just a week after losing Cole Holcomb for the year to a serious knee injury.
Tomlin was asked during his postgame press conference about his level of concern on defense with injuries starting to pile up. The coach mentioned safety Keanu Neal was dealing with a rib injury during the game. The leader of the secondary, Minkah Fitzpatrick, is still sidelined with a hamstring ailment. Instead of addressing those absences Tomlin chose to talk about the team more broadly.
“There’s a lot to be concerned about during the course of this journey,” he said. “Injuries are a part of the game as much as blocking and tackling. I’ve learned over the years not to worry about those that aren’t available to me, but to focus on those that are available to me and make sure they are ready, prepared and focused.”
Tomlin praised veteran Elandon Roberts for his ability as a great run stopper and as a communicator that helped the defense out with their two other starting linebackers not available due to injury.
Steelers’ Tomlin Says That It Hasn’t Been Clean But Offers A Reason Why They Keep Finding A Way To Win
The stat that made its way across the internet ahead of Week 10 about how Pittsburgh keeps getting out-gained but continues to have a winning record lingers on as the Packers put up 399 yards to Pittsburgh’s 324. Tomlin didn’t get into specifics about the challenges his team has had amassing yards, but provided some insight into why they continue to be able to pull off victories despite not beating opponents in yards.
Quarterback, Kenny Pickett struggled with his accuracy again on Sunday afternoon. He got lucky on the second offensive possession of the game when he threw what looked to be an interception into double coverage near the sideline. Luckily for him, the cornerback, Keisean Nixon, did not get two feet in bounds and the drive continued. Later, he tried to throw a swing pass for Warren that looked like a lateral and was ultimately called an incomplete pass after a Green Bay challenge.
Pickett has done a good job in the Steelers’ wins this year keeping the turnovers to a minimum while Pittsburgh’s opportunistic defense has done a good job collecting them. That the head coach said has been key to the risky formula that has the team 6-3.
“We haven’t been clean through nine games,” he said in reference to a question about the offense. “We’ve talked a lot about our warts but the turnover ratio has not been one of them. Generally we do a really good job of taking care of the ball and generally we do a good job of searching for and getting after the ball and it’s probably the difference in these tight games.”
Pittsburgh is getting turnover production from throughout the defense with last year’s interception leader Fitzpatrick still yet to have one. Nine different players have forced a fumble with Alex Highsmith, TJ Watt, and Holcomb forcing a pair each. If Pickett and the offense can continue to hold their mistakes giving the ball away and the defense can keep their fortunes on getting the ball going, the precarious house of cards might stay up longer.