3 Things We Learned From the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 9


Nov 6, 2023

The Pittsburgh Steelers improved to 5-3 on the campaign after knocking off the Tennessee Titans on Thursday Night Football.

SportsGrid has more on the Steelers through Week 9. 

NFL Week 9 Content: Super Bowl Power Rankings |  NFC Power Rankings | AFC Power Rankings | AFC Playoff Picture | NFC Playoff Picture | 5 Big Trade Deadline Moves

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1. Steelers Running Game Finally Found Success

If you look into the Steelers’ iconic history as a franchise, one of the main constants you’ll find is a solid run game. In recent history, that hasn’t been the case. We’re not going to say that the Steelers lack talent at the running back position, but they’ve struggled to find continuity with their offensive line. You’ll notice that, much like last year, the offensive line got better in the second half of the season, and the Steelers offense has to be hoping that’s the case again. Week 9 Thursday Night Football was a good start for this group, which saw them run the ball at a high clip and play Steeler football. Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren combined for 157 yards and a touchdown in the victory. We might not expect those numbers every week, but you have to be excited about the explosiveness these backs showed in this win. 

2. Kenny Pickett Continues Fourth Quarter Magic

There have been some struggles throughout his first one-and-a-half seasons in the NFL, but you can’t deny the success that Kenny Pickett has had when within one score in the fourth quarter. Pickett and the Steelers offense pulled a rabbit out of their hat on Thursday night, leading to a game-winning touchdown drive in the final frame. Pickett’s numbers won’t jump off the page, throwing for 160 yards and a touchdown. Still, he managed the game well, even amid some missed throws. The jury is still out on whether Pickett can find his way into the discussion as a solid quarterback option in the NFL. For now, even though the numbers aren’t great, you can’t dispute the 5-3 record of the Steelers, which has a lot to do with Pickett’s play in the second half of games. 

3. Alex Highsmith-T.J. Watt Remain Deadly Pass Rush

Heading into Thursday night, you had to figure that pass rushers Alex Highsmith and T.J. Watt were foaming at the mouth with a rookie quarterback under center and an offensive line dealing with plenty of injuries. It’s not hard to make the case that Highsmith and Watt are the best pass rush combo in the NFL, and they balled out on Thursday night again. The dynamic duo combined for three sacks and three tackles for losses. Getting Cameron Heyward back in the fold helped the Steelers run defense, but this pass-rush duo needed to be effective without Minkah Fitzpatrick in the secondary. Watt and Highsmith were once again crucial in keeping the Steelers in the game and allowing them to have a chance to win in the fourth quarter. 

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Thumbnail photo via Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

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