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Diontae Johnson’s Tremendous Day Leads to Steelers 8th Win, 23-17 over Arizona

By Jared Villani
SteelerNation.com

Pittsburgh’s defense picked up where they left off as they forced a punt on Arizona’s first offensive possession of the game. The Steelers defense set up a 13-play drive that eventually set up Chris Boswell for a 30-yard field goal to get off to an early three-point lead over the Cardinals.

Rookie Diontae Johnson proved why he took over on punt return duties just a few weeks ago as he took one 85 yards to the house for Pittsburgh, the first time since 2015. The Steelers add to their lead, 10 to 0 in Arizona.

On Pittsburgh’s next offensive drive, Benny Snell Jr. gave the ball right back to the Cardinals with a fumble, and eventually set kicker Zane Gonzalez up for a 30-yard field goal. Arizona still trails 10 to 3.

Unfortunately, Arizona wasn’t done there as Kyler Murray led his offense on a 12-play drive to eventually cap it off with a five-yard touchdown to tight end Charles Clay. Murray tied the franchise passing touchdown record with his 15th of the season and also tied the game at 10 as the first half drew to a close.

Devlin “Duck” Hodges did his best to get the Steelers back in front after Arizona tied things up and Diontae Johnson made his mark in this matchup once again, leading to another Boswell field goal. Boswell’s 37-yard field goal put the Steelers up 13 to 10 right before the half expired.

Kyler Murray and the Cardinals looked to be rolling in the second half right up until Joe Haden perfectly timed a pass intended for Chase Edmonds to give Pittsburgh’s offense the ball back.

The Steelers next offensive drive had Diontae Johnson’s name stamped all over it. One impressive play where he turned a would-be loss into a big gain led to another touchdown for the young receiver. Steelers increase their lead to 20 to 10.

The Cardinals appeared to be on their way to answering back after Johnson’s touchdown. The relentless play of the Steelers defense had other plans and stifled Arizona’s hopes of finding the end-zone as Kyler Murray gift-wrapped an early Christmas gift to T.J. Watt. This year’s 1st overall pick threw the ball right into Watt’s hands in the end zone for a touchback.

Unfortunately, the Steelers offensive drive following Watt’s interception ended in disaster with a botched fake punt play giving the Cardinals ideal field position. Murray bounced back with a 24-yard touchdown pass to David Johnson to put the Cardinals back within three points. Steelers still lead 20 to 17 after Murray broke the franchise passing touchdown record for Arizona.

The Steelers were able to march down field in due part to Diontae Johnson once again, as his playmaking ability came up big-time to set up Boswell for another field goal. Boswell’s 25-yard field goal put Pittsburgh up 23 to 17 with a little less than two minutes to go.

As Arizona took over on offense, the Steelers defense was incredibly suffocating and eventually were too much for Murray as a pass on 4th and long wound up in Joe Haden’s hands once more.

Steelers Stat Leaders

Devlin Hodges 16-19 152 Yards One Touchdown

Kerrith Whyte 5 Carries 41 Yards

Diontae Johnson 6 Rec 60 Yards One Receiving Touchdown & One Punt Return Touchdown

Bud Dupree 5 Tackles 3 TFL One Sack

Joe Haden 2 Interceptions and 4 Tackles

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