Steel Curtain Network: A Pittsburgh Steelers podcast

10 Winners and 5 Losers after the Steelers beat the Titans in Week 9

The Pittsburgh Steelers were back on the field Thursday for the eighth game of the 2023 regular season when they played the Tennessee Titans in Week 9 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…

Winners

Jaylen Warren
Stat Line: 11 carries, 88 yds, 8.0 ave., 0 TD, 22 long / 3 rec., 25 yds, 8.3 ave., 0 TD, 9 long, 3 targets

The Steelers running game was a group effort, and it was led by Jaylen Warren. Warren is tough not to root for, considering his size and running style. He is labeled the “Pinball Wizard” by us here at SCN for his “never go down” style. He got more carries in this game, and he deserved those carries. Those numbers should increase as the season progresses.

Najee Harris
Stat Line: 16 carries, 69 yds, 4.3 ave., 1 TD, 25 long / 2 rec., 7 yds, 3.5 ave., 0 TD, 4 long, 4 targets

Some don’t like Najee’s game, but I think it compliments Warren well. If they split carries, it is a great dynamic for the team’s offense. Harris is a different back, and the team finally got to see some spark from him…which has been missing this season. The Steelers will need both backs in the second half of the season.

T.J. Watt
Stat Line: 4 tackles, 2 solo, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 2 QB Hits

He could be on this list every week, and I’m going to put him on this list every week when he deserves it.

4th Quarter Kenny
Stat Line: 19/30, 160 yards, 5.3 ave., 1 TD, 0 INT, 0 sacks, 88.2 Rating

Notice Kenny Pickett isn’t on the winner list, just 4th quarter Kenny. That’s where we are right now with the 2nd year quarterback. When the game is on the line, not many are better. But everything before that? Well, it leaves a lot to be desired.

Diontae Johnson
Stat Line: 7 rec., 90 yds, 12.9 ave., 1 TD, 32 long, 9 targets

DJ gets a lot of hate from Steelers fans, but I was happy he finally scored a touchdown in this game. Get that monkey off the back and keep it rolling. With George Pickens getting the attention from the defense, Johnson was the play maker. A great game for No. 18.

Elandon Roberts
Stat Line: 9 tackles, 4 solo, 1 TFL

Cole Holcomb leaving the game put a strain on the inside linebacker position, but the veteran presence of Roberts was what the defense needed. Not to mention watching Roberts and Derrick Henry meet in the hole repeatedly made me feel like I was watching old school football…and it was glorious.

Kwon Alexander
Stat Line: 2 tackles, 2 solo, 1 PD, 1 INT

With Holcomb leaving the game with an injury, it mean Kwon Alexander would be called on for more snaps. While he has his issues at times, the game-sealing interception was a thing of beauty. A play I wonder if Holcomb could have made if healthy. Kwon is a dynamic player, and they’ll need him to be that, and then some, moving forward.

Alex Highsmith
Stat Line: 4 tackles, 2 solo, 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 5 QB Hits

I’ve been waiting for Highsmith to have a game like he did vs. the Titans. As you watch teams throw their entire right side of the offense over to stop T.J. Watt, you’d hope Highsmith can win some of his matchups. He did just that on Thursday night, living in the lap of Will Levis. It was much-needed, and hopefully this trend continues in Week 10.

Matt Canada
Stat Line: Getting better

Have to give credit where it’s due, and the issues for the Steelers on offense were not the play calling. Were there bone-headed calls? Absolutely. The wildcat at the goal line and the George Pickens wide receiver screen were bad. Other than that? Canada had a good game…don’t tell anyone I said that.

3rd Down Offense
Stat Line: 6-for-12

For the first time this season the Steelers offense gets to the .500 plateau!


Losers

Penalties
Stat Line: 10-for-80 yds

I know the officiating is awful, but some of these penalties the Steelers seem to have on a weekly basis are mind-numbingly bad. The Broderick Jones personal foul alone gave the Titans almost a shot of life with the football near midfield. This isn’t a new thing, and it smells of a lack of discipline.

Patrick Peterson
Stat Line: 3 tackles, 3 solo, 1 PD

I love Patrick Peterson. I think he’s a great guy, but there are times when you see a legendary player’s career is close to the end. That time is now for Pat Pete, and I’m now wondering if the Steelers can find a way to use him on the defensive side of the ball that won’t jeopardize the coverage.

Injuries
Stat Line: Big injury

The injury to Cole Holcomb combined with Minkah Fitzpatrick being out of the lineup resulted in the Steelers’ defense looking like chickens with their heads cut off pre-snap. Hopefully they get it figured out, because these injuries are starting to creep up on the team.

Officials
Stat Line: What are they watching?

I could talk about this every week, but there are times when I simply look at the screen and say, “What are these refs watching?” That was said again last night, and it continues to be a big issue with the league.

Streaming Live Television
Stat Line: Last two weeks

For the second straight week I’ve had issues with buffering and/or the game on my screen being really far behind the live game. This was my fear when the NFL went to these streaming services. All I want is to be able to watch the Steelers without having a spinning circle on my screen, and remotely close to the actual live game.


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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