LAS VEGAS — When is a road game not a road? A good sign is probably when the home team starts using a silent snap count.
That’s what the Las Vegas Raiders were forced to do when thousands of Pittsburgh Steelers fans invaded Allegiant Stadium for a 23-18 Steelers victory. But honestly, you could kind of tell it was going to be that kind of night when the Steelers took the field to a massive ovation and thousands of swirling Terrible Towels.
T.J. Watt, in particular, seemed to be the center of the fans’ affection. The earliest arriving fans roared when the entered the field for warmups, over an hour before kickoff. That was the first sign something special was brewing.
Listen to the roar when Levi Wallace caught the game-sealing interception:
The pick seals it! @steelers D finish up a huge night in Las Vegas on a high note 😤
— NFL (@NFL) September 25, 2023
Watt was also the last off the field, reveling with Steelers Nation after the road win.
“Steeler Nation has been incredible,” Watt said after the win. “Whether we’re at Acrisure or here on the road and hopefully next week, too, I just want them all to know the importance that is to the game. To be able to have a team on a silent count in their own stadium is pretty demoralizing and it helps the pass rush so much more. I’m very appreciative of everyone that came out tonight.”
“It was awesome,” echoed quarterback Kenny Pickett. “Our fans are unbelievable. When the other team has to go silent as well, it’s a huge advantage for us. So huge appreciation to our fans back in Pittsburgh, all over the world. Really appreciate you guys.”
Head coach Mike Tomlin said his team did well to take advantage of the situation.
“You have to do enough to win the crowd,” Tomlin said. “We don’t take it for granted. We’ve go to make enough plays to get the type of support.”
The Steelers did just that — especially on defense, where big play after big play, including three interceptions and four sacks of Jimmy Garoppolo, seemed to keep fueling the crowd, right up until the last one.