3 big winners (and 3 upsetting losers) from the Steelers win over Titans

Pittsburgh Steelers, Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers, Steelers / Denny Simmons / The Tennessean / USA

The Steelers squeaked out another win this week on Thursday night football, defeating an upstart Titans team. To be clear, Tennessee isn’t a dominant force, but they were riding high after an impressive win against Atlanta. Pittsburgh needed this win, and they did just enough to get it.

While not the prettiest win ever, I feel like as fans we need to be expecting this at this point. The offense and defense are both extremely streaky, and you saw the best and worst of that in this game. Here are the winners and losers from the Steelers' victory over the Titans in Week 9.

Steelers winners:

Alex Highsmith

It has, statistically, been a quiet season for Alex Highsmith to this point. While he hasn’t been the most sack-productive player, his pass rush is felt every week. That finally paid off this week, as Highsmith tallied up a pair of sacks in this game. Beyond that though, he was still a consistent force off the edge. Despite the lesser stats, Highsmith is having a great season.

Diontae Johnson

It has been a tough stretch for Diontae Johnson, as he had a cold streak of finding the endzone and was injured for most of this season. He broke that trend, scoring for the first time in forever, and was effective as a receiver. He was the top target this week, and he flashed his elite playmaking ability.

Jaylen Warren

Credit to Najee Harris, who also had a strong day, but Jaylen Warren once again flashed some of the elite play that we have seen from the former undrafted free agent. He is explosive through the hole and a dynamic threat with the ball in his hands. He has been quite the find for this offense.

Steelers losers:

Joey Porter Jr.

It wasn’t a horrible showing for Joey Porter, but it certainly wasn’t a clean game. Penalties were an issue, and it almost cost this team. He was facing a savvy veteran in DeAndre Hopkins, but he needed to play cleaner, as his penalties almost cost this team the win this week.

George Pickens

It wasn’t all his fault, as the passing game as a whole was mediocre, but George Pickens struggled to make the top-level impact we expect from him. He tallied a negative yard on two catches and should have come down with a touchdown. We needed more out of this elite playmaker.

Kenny Pickett

Kenny Pickett didn’t do anything to kill this team as he has done in the past, but it was once again a mediocre game for the starting quarterback. He misses too many passes and struggles with general accuracy. If he wants to be a starter for the long term, he really needs to develop his game. He got outplayed by Will Levis, despite the fact that Pickett was the winner.

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A win is a win, but once again it was a tough game to watch for this team. This win keeps the Steelers alive this season and was vital for their playoff odds. Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t pretty, but this team did what it needed to do to win.