9 Winners and 4 Losers after the Steelers beat the Packers 23-19
The Pittsburgh Steelers were back on the field Sunday for the ninth game of the 2023 regular season when they played the Green Bay Packers in Week 10 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…
Stat Line: 15 carries, 101 yards, 6.7 ave., 1 TD, 20 long / 2 catches, 9 yards, 4.5 ave., 6 yard long, 4 targets
Jaylen Warren is a great story, and one which doesn’t get old telling. It was great to see Warren get his first 100 yard game in the NFL, and hopefully it’s a sign of things to come. The Steelers don’t need Warren to be the “starter”. The don’t need Najee to be “the guy”. They need both players to really make this run game click. Hopefully the trend continues, with success, in Week 11.
Stat Line: 16 carries, 82 yards, 5.1 ave., 1 TD, 24 long / 3 rec., 14 yards, 4.7 ave., 8 long, 4 targets
Like I said before, this isn’t an either/or sentiment. It is an “and” situation. The Steelers need both Najee and Jaylen, and it absolutely worked in this game. Loved to see the carries split almost evenly…just wish Najee wouldn’t try to jump over every defender who tries to tackle him.
Stat Line: 8 tackles, 7 solo, 1 TFL, 1 sack, 2 QB Hits
Watt could be on this list every week, and I’m going to put him on the list every week. What is crazy to me is show Watt doesn’t take plays off. He hustles like he’s a 7th round pick just trying to get some more snaps in a game. Watt is as good as they come.
Stat Line: 6 tackles, 3 solo, 1 pass defense, 2 QB Hits
In the post-game show, Bryan Davis and Dave Schofield thought Benton looked like the next Javon Hargrave. I could get on board with that, and think Benton is carving a really nice niche for himself on this defense. Every week Benton doesn’t just see more time, he starts to make more plays. Love seeing this rookie develop.
Stat Line: 1 blocked XP / 2 tackles, 2 solo, 1 Pass Defense
Peterson has found his way on the losers list this season, but the game he had vs. the Packers is what fans thought they’d get when the team signed him in free agency. Timely plays in the secondary, and an extra point block which had a lasting impact on how the game played out.
Keanu Neal / Damontae Kazee
Stat Line: 2 INTs
The Steelers now have a +10 turnover differential and have 18 takeaways on the season. They have two more after Sunday from the safeties, one a piece, who have been tasked with holding down the fort after Minkah Fitzpatrick was injured. Good for Neal and Kazee, their timely takeaways was the difference in the outcome of the game.
Stat Line: 36 carries, 205 yards, 5.7 ave., 2 TD, 24 long
The offense might not be complete, but the run game is starting to heat up. Is it all because Broderick Jones has been inserted into the lineup? Maybe, maybe not. However, I go back to the clip of Jones coming off the field after a Najee Harris touchdown vs. the Titans as he was yelling “All day!” in the direction of Mike Tomlin. Sometimes the line needs some swagger and youthful exuberance. Jones might just be the catalyst this group needed.
Stat Line: GB 1-for-5
How do you build a bend, don’t break defense? Start with a stifling red-zone defense. In this game, the defense didn’t just hold the Packers to only converting one of their five red-zone trips, they also had two takeaways in the red area. Some say it can’t be sustained, yet the defense proves week in and week out it can be,
Stat Line: 3/3 FGs / 2/2 XP
Money in the bank. That’s the best way to describe Chris Boswell. Great to see in back in form after an injury-plagued 2022 campaign.
Stat Line: 14/23, 126 yards, 5.5 ave., 0 TD, 0 INT, 1 sack for 7 yards, 75.6 Rating
I don’t put Pickett on this side of the ledger often, but when you look at how he played in this game it felt necessary. As I say in the podcast below, the passing attack is the final key to the offense starting to actually look like, you know, an NFL offense. While some of that blame might fall on Matt Canada’s shoulders, more falls on Pickett to start making more plays. It has to get better than what we’ve seen. No one can say playing one good quarter out of four is in any way a positive. How about we play four good quarters…just once? Let’s start there…
Stat Line: 126 yards, no TDs
The passing game is the missing piece of the offensive puzzle. As team’s load the box, you have to prove you can beat teams through the air. Right now, they can’t do it. And when they did get an opportunity they shot themselves in the foot. Diontae Johnson’s drop and Calvin Austin III’s offensive pass interference as prime examples.
3rd Down Offense
Stat Line: 4-for-13
We shoot for .500 or better. A red-hot start turned ice-cold for the remainder of the game.
Stat Line: Kickoff plan
Not to say anything about Smith getting leveled at the end of the game after Kazee’s interception, but whoever had the idea to consistently kick the ball shot was mind-numbing. The Packers consistently started with better field position, instead of forcing the offense to try and march the ball 75 yards against a very opportunistic defense.
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!