The Pittsburgh Steelers seem to play their best football when the odds are against them.
On this New Year's Eve, Mike Tomlin's team was facing elimination with a depleted
secondary and linebacking unit. Somehow, they were able to pull off a huge win against the Seattle Seahawks by a score of 30-23. With the win, the team improved to 9-7 and stayed alive for at least another week.
As was the case in their Week 16 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, the story of this game was the masterful work of quarterback Mason Rudolph. In total, the Steelers offense generated 468 total yards; the last time they registered over 430 yards of offense in a game was in November 2018.
Leading the way was Rudolph's favorite target, George Pickens, who finished with a game-high 131 yards on seven receptions. His teammate, Diontae Johnson, contributed 76 yards on four receptions, while tight end Pat Freiermuth came alive with 44 receiving yards.
The duo of Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren were simply too much for the Seahawks offense to handle. Harris led all running backs in the game with 122 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Warren was his usually impactful self, finishing with 75 rushing yards on 13 carries and a touchdown.
The defensive side was not nearly as prosperous, but it came through when it mattered. Rookie linebacker Nick Herbig provided the team's only sack and forced fumble. Defensive back Eric Rowe was a workhorse, finishing with 10 tackles, one for loss. Lastly, veteran defensive lineman Cameron Heyward had a good showing with a tackle for loss and a pass deflected.
It will all come down to next week against the Baltimore Ravens. What is likely is that it will be Rudolph's team the rest of the way. After posting consecutive 30-point wins, the offense has not looked this good since the Ben Roethlisberger days. Rudolph's play has elevated everyone on offense, including the coordinators themselves, so it is only fitting that he has the chance to help the Steelers make the playoffs.