PITTSBURGH (GSM) — The Steelers are currently sitting at .500 with a record of 4-4 so far on the season and are in second place in the AFC North behind the Baltimore Ravens to handed the Patriots their first loss of the season. As for the Steelers, however, they defeated the Indianapolis Colts Sunday 26-24 at Heinz Field.
Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri missed a 43-yard kick which could have turn the tides of the game. A man of a few words after the game, “I just missed it. I have to do better than that. Just pulled it left.”
In his post game press conference, Steelers Head coach Mike Tomlin is happy about his team’s victory, however saying there is more work to be done to continue winning. “It is great to get a win versus a winning team. That team had been in a bunch of close games and won a lot of them. It’s good when you can be in a game against a team that is used to winning in close games and pull it out, so we are thankful for that. We have some things to fix, obviously, red zone execution and so forth.” Tomlin said, “But we will address it and address it with the win. It is good to be .500 at the turn like we talked about early in the week given where we have come from. It’s going to still be a while. We will work forever trying to get that September stench off of us, but that is life in this thing, and I appreciate the effort and fight. It is good to be sitting at 4-4.”
Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, has played lights out since joining the Steelers in week 3 of the 2019 season. Since that time, he has 4 interceptions, one of which he took 96 yards for a touchdown Sunday against the Colts. “I was just reading the quarterback. He looked right first, then he looked hard left, shoulders turned and everything, so I just started drifting that way. He let go of the ball and I went and got it.”
Linebacker Budd Dupree was also instrumental in the success of the defensive stand with a forced fumble and 2 sacks. Both he and TJ Watt had big plays for losses. Watt recorded 1 and a half sacks and says he and Dupree are working well together as a linebacker tandem.
Next up, the Steelers host the 5-3 Los Angeles Rams who sit at 3rd place in the NFC West behind the unbeaten 49ers and Seahawks, both of whom beat the Steelers this season.
PITTSBURGH (GSM) — Even though the Pittsburgh Steelers lead the all-time series against the Chargers 23-10 (including the post-season), Pittsburgh has an uphill battle as they struggle against teams when traveling across time zones.
The last 3 meetings against teams on the West Coast (or relatively close) has resulted in losses. In 2018, the Steelers fell on the road to the Oakland Raiders (24-21), Denver Broncos (24-17) and in ’19 walked away winless when facing the San Francisco 49ers (24-20), respectively.
This week, the Chargers are at home and face their own struggles. Sitting at 2-3 and 3rd place in the AFC West, Los Angeles is coming off of a loss to division rival Denver Broncos.
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers — who Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin labeled a, Hall of Fame caliber quarterback” — has a completion percentage of 68% on 194 passes and 7 touchdowns, however, is missing his anchor on the offensive line for the season. Mike Pouncey (twin brother to Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey) was placed on the team’s injured reserve list on Oct 9 after suffering a neck injury against the Broncos. An injury that will have him sidelined for the season, possibly longer.
Rivers, who has faced adversity before, said in a press conference, “We have to be physical, come out and be hungry.”
The Steelers — on the other hand — must rely on their defense to carry the load and stop the Chargers offense who has proven to be efficient in recent history. The addition of safety Minkah Fitzpatrick has assisted Pittsburgh in defensive stops across the middle. In his Steelers debut, he recorded an interception and has made a significant impact in the secondary. Fitzpatrick was acquired from the Miami Dolphins for a 2020 1st round pick and a 6th-rounder in 2021.
PITTSBURGH (GSM) – A scary moment came in the 3rd quarter of the game against the Baltimore Ravens where Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph was knocked out following a vicious hit by Earl Thomas. The hit left him unconscious for several minutes and an obvious stoppage of play. Rudolph was able to walk off of the field, woozy and discombobulated.
Head Coach Mike Tomlin addressed the media confirming the aftermath was a concussion. “I thought he represented himself well. He gave us a chance. You have to tip your hat to him.” Tomlin said. “You are talking about a guy that didn’t make our opening 53 and all those things, we know his story. You also have to acknowledge that he has done some good things at every step along the way through the team development process when given the opportunity and that is why he is in the position that he is in. That is probably why he made the positive showing in spots that he did today.”
The Steelers lost the game 26-23 and travel to the West Coast to face the Chargers on Sunday.
PITTSBURGH (GSM) — Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin, heading into his 13th season, says it was important to, “give the young guys situational work” at Family Day in Heinz Field. Rookies such as Devin Bush (LB, Michigan) and Diontae Johnson (WR, Toledo) received significant reps during the evening’s practice. Johnson left practice with a hip injury. His condition is to be determined in the coming days.