Steelers Take Tough Loss in New Orleans, 31 – 28

Steelers Take Tough Loss in New Orleans, 31 -28

Ben Roethlisberger started the game out connecting with JuJu Smith-Schuster on a quick first down. Jaylen Samuels saw some early work, but unfortunately Pittsburgh was forced to punt after only four plays.

Drew Brees and the New Orleans offense took over on their home turf and running back Mark Ingram came out with a powerful run to set the tone early for the Saints. Wide receiver Michael Thomas got going early as well, improving upon his fantastic season. Backup quarterback Taysom Hill came in for one play and threw the ball deep down field for Ted Ginn Jr., but Sean Davis came up with a well-played interception.

The Steelers moved the ball fairly effectively downfield before Antonio Brown was stopped short by P.J. Williams. Chris Boswell came in and knocked in a 49-yard field goal to put the first points on the board. Steelers lead 3 – 0.

Brees started right back up with Michael Thomas on a huge gain into Steelers territory. An extremely costly pass interference call on Joe Haden placed the Saints right inside the 1-yard line. Ingram came in to put the Saints ahead, 7-3.

The Steelers offense looked to answer back after the Ingram touchdown and Roethlisberger found Vance McDonald wide open down field for a 49-yard gain. Steelers had to settle for a field goal and Boswell hit from 30 yards out this time. Saints lead 7 – 6.

Another unfortunate pass interference penalty call put the Saints well within the red zone and running back Alvin Kamara made a great effort to cap off the drive with an 8-yard run. The Saints lead 14 – 6.

Roethlisberger finally was able to get AB involved heavily in the offense to keep the chains moving the Steelers. Samuels was fantastic as well, cutting through holes on the defensive front. AB was unstoppable on this drive and made a fantastic catch in traffic on 3rd and 11 to keep the drive alive for Pittsburgh. The Steelers capped off a 97-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Jaylen Samuels from Big Ben. The Steelers were able to even the score with a two-yard pass to Eli Rogers for a successful two-point conversion. Steelers tie the game at 14 – 14.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Jaylen Samuels' third touchdown of his career. <a href=”https://t.co/yYlDaYrCqt”>pic.twitter.com/yYlDaYrCqt</a></p>&mdash; Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) <a href=”https://twitter.com/steelers/status/1076978053316718592?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>December 23, 2018</a></blockquote>

The Saints were able march down field with right around 40 seconds left and come away with a three-point lead courtesy of a Will Lutz field goal. Saints carry a 17 – 14 lead into the second half.

As the second half began, Drew Brees and Alvin Kamara found great success on several connections and that’s exactly how the drive ended. Kamara went up and over the Steelers defense for a one-yard touchdown. Saints extend their lead 24 – 14.

JuJu came alive for the Steelers next drive and AB joined the party as well, slicing through New Orleans defenders. Switzer took a bubble screen well into the Saints territory to put Pittsburgh on the three-yard line. Big Ben put an end to the drive with a touchdown pass to AB to put the score at 24 – 21.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”und” dir=”ltr”>No. 1️⃣4️⃣ <a href=”https://t.co/kOc3QHVnwN”>pic.twitter.com/kOc3QHVnwN</a></p>&mdash; Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) <a href=”https://twitter.com/steelers/status/1076984961675124736?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>December 23, 2018</a></blockquote>

The Steelers defense came out swinging as T.J. Watt and Cam Heyward combined for a sack then Bud Dupree and Stephon Tuitt came up with a second sack on Brees. Saints quickly gave the ball back to the Steelers.

AB and Big Ben struck immediately on offense with a 25-yard connection. After an incredible one handed touchdown catch by AB was determined an incomplete catch, he came right back and came up with a 20-yard touchdown grab. The Steelers take the lead back 28 – 24.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Allow him to reintroduce himself.<br><br>His name is 🆎. <a href=”https://t.co/ySQuJzot4W”>pic.twitter.com/ySQuJzot4W</a></p>&mdash; Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) <a href=”https://twitter.com/steelers/status/1076989299722117120?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>December 23, 2018</a></blockquote>

Saints got the ball back in very favorable range after a questionable 4th down call did not work in the Steelers favor. Roosevelt Nix came up just short on the fake punt play. The Saints were in trouble for a lot of the drive, but ultimately Brees took over and showed why he’s in MVP conversation. Brees connected with Michael Thomas on a short touchdown grab to put New Orleans up 31 – 28.

The Steelers let there chances slip away in this game as Roethlisberger hit JuJu on a slant route, but JuJu coughed the ball up and ultimately the game ended on a horrible note for the Steelers. A lot needs to happen for Pittsburgh to get back into playoff contention after a crucial loss.

Steelers Stat Leaders

Ben Roethlisberger 380 Yards 3 Touchdowns

Jaylen Samuels 12 Carries 53 Yards

Antonio Brown 14 Receptions 185 Yards 2 Touchdowns

Mike Hilton 6 Tackles 1 Tackle for a Loss

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