PITTSBURGH — It is often said that playing defensive back in the NFL successfully requires a short memory.
Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback James Pierre personified that adage Sunday, snagging the game-clinching interception just minutes after giving up a 39-yard touchdown in the team’s 27-19 win over the Denver Broncos.
“I knew that was coming at me. I got beat,” Pierre said. “I knew they was coming at me.”
After surrendering the initial touchdown to Denver wideout Courtland Sutton that brought the Broncos within a score, Pierre immediately went to the sideline and sought the advice of his coaches.
“Even though you know have other plays in the mix, my eyes was bad,” Pierre said. “So I got on the phone with coach to talk a little tips, details. Keep my eyes on the receiver. That’s all it was.”
Those words of wisdom positioned Pierre to intercept Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in the end zone on the next series, a momentous play which allowed the Steelers to snap a three-game losing streak.
“Kept my eyes on my work,” Pierre said of the crucial fourth down play. “And then took two steps at the receiver, and just looked back for the ball. Caught the pick. Out of body experience. It was crazy.”
The Steelers knew they needed to rely on Pierre heavily entering Sunday’s game, as starting cornerback Cameron Sutton was absent with a groin injury.
Pierre delivered with six total tackles and two passes defended in addition to the interception, which was the first of his career.