A week after throwing three interceptions, Mitch Trubisky played turnover-free football on Sunday, as he and Pittsburgh Steelers relied on their running game in a 24-16 victory over the Carolina Panthers.
Trubisky threw for 179 yards, but it was Najee Harris, Jaylen Warren & Co. that led the offensive charge for a Steelers’ team that desperately needed a victory. Harris run for 86 yards and a score, while Warren chipped in 38 yards and a score of his own.
A 13 play, 67 yard drive in the first quarter by the Steelers was capped off by a 7 yard touchdown run by Harris to put the Steelers in front early, 7-0. The Panthers answered with a long 14 play drive of their own, finished by a 5 yard touchdown pass by Sam Darnold to tie the game.
Pittsburgh responded with another long drive, this time using 14 plays to march down the field for 75 yards, ending with a two-yard run by Warren.
The Steelers took complete control of the game in the opening drive of the third quarter, eating up the first 11 plus minutes of the second half with a miraculous 23 yard drive. Trubisky’s 1-yard touchdown run up the middle capped a drive that began on the Steelers’ 9 yard line. Pittsburgh went up 21-7.
Back to back field goals by the Panthers cut the lead to 21-13, but a 15 play Steelers’ drive ended with a 50 yard field goal by Chris Boswell to make it 24-13. Despite a field goal by Carolina late in the fourth quarter to make it a one-score game, a recovered onside kick sealed the deal for Pittsburgh.
This was a nice win for the Steelers. They went back to a simple approach – run the ball on first and second down, giving themselves a chance on third down and short. They were able to convert those third downs, and in most cases, when you have a high percentage of third down conversions, you are going to win the game. Incredibly, the Steelers’ victory, accompanied by some results in other games, puts them within shouting distance of a wild card spot with just three games to go.
The Steelers will take the field on Christmas Eve against the Las Vegas Raiders in prime time. Pittsburgh will look to improve to 7-8 on the season with a victory.
Overall Record: 6-8