Steel Curtain Network: A Pittsburgh Steelers podcast

10 Winners and 4 Losers after the Steelers 24-17 win over the Rams

The Pittsburgh Steelers were back on the field Sunday for the sixth game of the 2023 regular season when they played the Los Angeles Rams in Week 7 of regular season action. The Steelers were winners in the contest, but that doesn’t mean every player had a good or bad performance.

Players who play well can be considered ‘Winners’, while those who left a lot to be desired can be called ‘Losers’. It may sound harsh, but it is the crux of this exercise.

Let’s check in to see who fell on which side of the ledger after the latest game…


T.J. Watt
Stat Line: 1 tackle, 1 solo, 1 PD, 1 INT

When it comes to making game-changing plays, is there anyone better than Watt?? I can’t think of one, and this game was the perfect example. Watt didn’t register a sack, not even a tackle for loss. But his interception in the 3rd quarter changed the entire game. He’s that kind of player, and why I think he’s the best defensive player in the game right now.

Pressley Harvin III
Stat Line: 0 return yards

Harvin had a tremendous game punting the football, and on a night when the Rams made it obvious how important special teams can be, Harvin was near perfect. Want a crazy stat line? The Rams had zero return yards. Zero. Crazy.

Points Off Turnovers
Stat Line: 3 turnovers turned to points

I love some P.O.T. No, not the substance, but the Points Off Turnovers. I included missed field goals in the turnover category, and the Steelers turned all three extra possessions into points. That’s the type of stat you want to see from a winning football team.

Joey Porter Jr.
Stat Line: 3 tackles, 2 solo, 1 pass defense

Porter Jr. is different in a lot of ways. We, as fans, have grown so accustomed to those soft 5-7 yard cushions by defensive backs we don’t know what to think when we see a defensive back jamming receivers at the line of scrimmage. It’s different, and a good different. I’m prepared for some defensive holding, illegal contact and defensive pass interference calls early in his career. That’s fine, because he’s the type of cornerback I want on the Steelers.

Red-Zone Offense
Stat Line: 3-for-3

Coming into this game the Steelers had only 8 red-zone trips. They had three in this game, and they were all converted into touchdowns. Perfect. Nothing else needs to be said.

Kenny Pickett
Stat Line: 17/25, 230 yards, 9.2 ave., 0 TD, 0 INT, 2 sacks for 16 yds., 97.1 Rating / 1 Rush TD

I hate the fact that anytime I put Pickett, who just always seems to find ways to win despite poor outings, on the winners list, some fans refuse to even acknowledge his good play. Is he perfect? Far from it, but at the same time he is finding ways to play his best when it matters most. Just look at the stat below from Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Steelers Rookies
Stat Line: Key plays made all around

Whether you’re talking about Porter Jr., Keeanu Benton or Nick Herbig, it is great to see these rookies stepping up when they get a shot to play. Sure, we’d love to see Broderick Jones more. We’d love to see Darnell Washington utilized in the passing game more. But this rookie class is developing nicely, and that’s something fans should be excited about.

4th Quarter
Stat Line: Out-scored, and out-played, Rams 14-0

Just like their quarterback, the Steelers played their best when it mattered most. The 4th quarter left fans everywhere saying the same thing, “Why can’t they play like this all game??” That’s the million dollar question, but you saw when they put it all together, this team can be tough.

Chris Boswell
Stat Line: 1/1 FGs (51 yards)

On a night of missed kicks, it was great to have a ton of confidence in your favorite team’s kicker. Boz is back, and it looks more and more like last season was nothing more than an aberration.

Game-Sealing Drive
Stat Line: Never give the ball back

How many times over the last few years have we seen this take place. Steelers take the lead, defense make the stop, offense fails to ice out the game. Instead, it’s the defense that has to come out and win the game. Well, not Sunday. The offense finally got the job done, and it was fun to see the defense just have to sit back and enjoy the ride.


Early Pass Protection
Stat Line: 2 sacks, 7 QB Hits

While the Steelers got the pass protection figured out in the second half, the first half was atrocious. It wasn’t just on the coordinator, it was also on the quarterback and the offensive line. Free blitzers came at Pickett from all angles. It was ineptitude at its finest. I’m glad it got fixed, but how did it get there in the first place?

Self-Inflicted Wounds
Stat Line: Stupid penalties

The penalties on players like George Pickens and Diontae Johnson are absolutely mind-numbing. However, so was the neutral zone infraction on T.J. Watt. These types of plays simply can’t happen if the team wants to be taken seriously. Not to mention the offense is so fragile it can’t withstand self-inflicted wounds of any kind.

Stat Line: 8-for-76 yards

Speaking of penalties, the number of penalties by the Steelers is enough to raise an eyebrow. 8 penalties for 76 yards? That’s incredible, and also horrible. Gotta clean it up.

Stat Line: How many bad calls, for both teams

The NFL has a problem, and it isn’t player safety. It’s about the integrity of the game. These games, not just Steelers vs. Rams, are being decided by some extremely questionable calls. With the NFL now in bed with so many gambling outlets, it’s natural some call into question if these games aren’t being impacted by “outside sources”. Tough to tell these days, and both teams in SoFi Stadium had their share of bad calls against them.

If you want a more detailed look at the above list, check out my “Let’s Ride” podcast in the player below where I outline each Winner and Loser, and MORE!

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