PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers have won a number of games this season by just hanging around and waiting for Kenny Pickett to win it late.
Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, they used a different tact, with the defense holding on for most of the game against Jordan Love and company, but they got two big plays late to secure a 23-19 victory.
Keanu Neal intercepted Love’s first chance at a game-winning touchdown when he corralled a ball tipped by Patrick Peterson. The Packers got the ball back again with just seconds to play, but the second time, it was the other safety, Damontae Kazee, who came up with the big play, intercepting Love as time expired.
Neal also had eight tackles and Kazee five as the Steelers played without star safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. The team was also missing inside linebacker Cole Holcomb and lost fellow ILB Kwon Alexander on the opening possession, but held Green Bay to 19 points.
The Steelers offense has been characterized by slow starts all season, but they did the exact opposite in this one. The Steelers scored on each of their first three offensive possessions.
Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren led the way, as the Steelers established things on the ground in a significant way for the first time this season.
Harris scored on a 4-yard scamper to open the scoring, as the Steelers scored on the opening possession of the game for the second straight week. Warren added a 16-yard scoring scamper on the second Steelers possession.
Harris finished with a season-high 82 yards on 16 carries. Warren also set a season-best mark with 101 yards on 15 carries.
A Chris Boswell field goal on the Steelers’ third drive gave Pittsburgh a 17-7 lead, but the offense’s production stalled at that point. They were only able to add two more Boswell field goals the entire rest of the afternoon.
Pickett and the passing game never got going. Pickett finished 14 of 23 for 126 yards and a 75.6 passer rating. George Pickens was his leading receiver with just three catches for 45 yards.
With the win, the Steelers took two of three on their mid-season homestand, and are now 6-3. They remain in second place in the AFC North, behind the Baltimore Ravens. They’ll visit the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals over the next two weeks.