The Gridiron Report: Pittsburgh Defense Shines as Steelers beat Saints 20-10


Photo by Antonio Rossetti

Fans filter in before the New orleans Saints take on the Pittsburgh Steelers at Acrisure Stadium on November 13, 2022.

Written By Anthony Cugini, Sports Columnist

The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the New Orleans Saints 20-10 on Sunday.

Pittsburgh captured their first win since the middle of October thanks to some stellar play from the 2022 version of the Steel Curtain.

In his first game as a Steeler, safety Damonte Kazee recorded an interception which later set up a Kenny Pickett rushing touchdown. Cornerback Levi Wallace became the second Steeler to intercept Saints quarterback Andy Dalton late in the fourth quarter to put the game away for Pittsburgh.

Superstar linebacker T.J. Watt made his return to the Steelers lineup and made an immediate impact. Though Watt didn’t record any eye-catching stats, Watt’s presence alone allowed Alex Highsmith to produce on the defensive line. 

With the Saints often having to double team T.J. Watt, Highsmith was presented with easier blocking than he had faced in previous weeks. Thanks to this, Highsmith added to his team leading sack total with two on the game. Highsmith now has 8.5 sacks on the season.

Rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett played alright. Though it may not sound like much, this is a huge improvement from how Pickett was playing in previous weeks. Pickett failed to throw a touchdown, though he made up for it on the ground with 8 carries for 51 yards and a touchdown.

A key takeaway from this game is that the Saints had none. Pittsburgh didn’t turn the ball over once thanks to good game management from Pickett and the Steelers offense. 

Running back Najee Harris played an improved game as well with 20 carries for 99 yards. Harris looked strong as he barrelled through New Orleans defenders to record a season high in carries, yards, and yards per carry. 

After Steeler players expressed their frustration with their performance during the bye week, the offense seemed to improve after the break. They ran the ball better. They controlled the ball better. They moved the ball better. All of these are improvements that shouldn’t be taken lightly by fans or the media.

Yes, Matt Canada is a terrible offensive coordinator. But we saw his unit improve this week and that’s a positive takeaway. There haven’t been many positive things surrounding the Steelers this year but this improvement is certainly one of them. 

Next up for the Steelers will be a home game against the division rival Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals are coming off of a bye week as they sit 5-4 on the season. Pittsburgh will look to replicate their performance they had against the Bengals in week one as they took down Cincinnati 23-20 in overtime.