Fifty years after Franco Harris’ “Immaculate Reception” helped propel the Steelers to a fourth-quarter comeback victory over the Raiders, Pittsburgh pulled off one other stunner in opposition to the silver and black to cap the NFL’s Christmas Eve slate. In between a ceremony to honor the late Harris, who died at 72 this week, the Steelers dominated on protection, weathering frosty air and an early Raiders lead Saturday to storm again with 10 fourth-quarter factors and declare a 13-10 victory.
The come-from-behind win does not simply tentatively protect coach Mike Tomlin’s streak of non-losing seasons; it additionally technically retains the Steelers within the AFC wild card race, whereas dropping Josh McDaniels’ Raiders to 6-9 on the 12 months. Pittsburgh trailed after Las Vegas scored on its opening possession, all the best way till the ultimate minute of the sport, when rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett discovered fellow rookie George Pickens for the go-ahead landing cross.
Listed here are some further takeaways from Saturday night time’s AFC showdown:
Why the Steelers received
Becoming for an evening devoted to an NFL legend of previous, the Steelers turned again the clock to the times of old-school smashmouth soccer, notably on protection. After surrendering a 15-play opening TD drive, Pittsburgh all however eradicated Josh McDaniels’ offense, swallowing up Josh Jacobs, blanketing Davante Adams and, most notably, baiting Derek Carr right into a handful of ill-timed photographs en route to 3 picks. Cameron Heyward was a pressure up entrance, Alex Highsmith had a key sack, and Cameron Sutton produced possibly one of the best interception of his profession, diving to rob Carr of a last-gasp deep ball and seal the win. Whereas predictably plodding for a lot of the night time, Kenny Pickett and Co. did their half in crunch time, too: Pickett’s go-ahead TD strike to George Pickens was flawless, and each Najee Harris and Pat Freiermuth stepped up on the ultimate drive.
Why the Raiders misplaced
Derek Carr was not ready for this type of climate or protection, apparently. Clearly the loss does not solely fall on the Raiders’ veteran QB. Jacobs, for example, had nothing happening the bottom, and the timing between Carr and Hunter Renfrow did not all the time appear pristine, which is sensible contemplating the latter has missed a lot of the 12 months attributable to damage. However given one alternative after one other to place an unsightly, low-scoring recreation away, No. 4 too typically put the ball up and in visitors, gifting the Steelers bonus possessions — and, as soon as, instantly following Pickett’s personal decide. It did not assist that Adams was invisible till one of many last drives, however this was merely an off night time for Carr, who’s now thrown 9 picks in his final 5 outings.
Fourth-and-1 for the Steelers on the Raiders’ 15-yard line, with solely 55 seconds on the clock. This was the sport. Kenny Pickett bought simply sufficient on the following QB sneak, selecting up a brand new set of downs and, with a timeout nonetheless remaining, guaranteeing a official likelihood to steal the lead within the last minute. The Pickett TD got here instantly afterward, vaulting the Steelers in entrance after an evening of enjoying catch-up within the chilly. The Raiders’ three-and-out beforehand was a part of the momentum shift.
Play of the sport
It is gotta belong to Sutton, who actually laid out after which hung onto the ball for Carr’s third decide of the night time regardless of contacting Hunter Renfrow on his strategy to the grass:
The Raiders (6-9) will return dwelling for a Week 17 showdown with the NFC West-leading 49ers (11-4), who beat the Commanders on Christmas Eve. The Steelers (7-8), in the meantime, will hit the street for a rematch with the rival Ravens (10-5), who clinched a playoff spot by edging the Falcons earlier Saturday.