Steelers, Cards highlights, lowlights
The following are the highlights and lowlights from the Steelers’ 23-17 victory over the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday:
Play of the game: Leading 3-0 late in the first quarter, Pittsburgh rookie Diontae Johnson fielded a punt at his own 15-yard line and took it back to the right side of the field and up the sideline for an 85-yard touchdown return.
Offensive player of the game: Pittsburgh quarterback Devlin Hodges completed 16-of-19 passes for 152 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. He also ran five times for 34 yards.
Defensive player of the game: Steelers cornerback Joe Haden intercepted two passes and had four tackles.
Most telling statistic: Three of the Cardinals’ four second-half possessions ended with an interception.
Hidden statistic: The Steelers possessed the ball for 10 minutes in the fourth quarter.
Best run: Hodges scrambled up the middle and ran out of bounds at the Arizona 41-yard line for a 22-yard gain to help set up a field goal right before halftime.
Best pass: Hodges fired a perfect back-shoulder pass to a covered Johnson in the end zone for a touchdown that put the Steelers up 20-10 late in the third quarter.
Worst pass: Early in the fourth quarter on fourth-and-2 at the Steelers’ 6-yard line, Arizona’s Kyler Murray could have easily run for the first down but instead threw to Pittsburgh linebacker TJ Watt for an interception in the end zone.
Best catch: Early in the game, Pittsburgh running back Jaylen Samuels one-handed a toss from Hodges and got plastered by Jordan Hicks and lost his helmet but held on to the ball.
Dropped pass: A few plays before the Watt interception, Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds failed to catch a short pass out of the backfield.
Best block(s): On Johnson’s punt return, several Steelers, including Samuels, formed a wall to spring Johnson for the score.
Missed block: In the fourth quarter, the Steelers’ line allowed Arizona’s Darrell Daniels and Dennis Gardeck to rush punter Jordan Berry, who thought a fake punt was called, and it turned into disaster. Berry tried to run but was tackled right away and fumbled.
Best tackle: Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick was one-on-one with Murray on a keeper on second-and-3 at the Pittsburgh 3 early in the second quarter. He took Murray down for a 1-yard loss, and the Cardinals ended the drive with a field goal.
Best hit: Cardinals linebacker Tanner Vallejo popped the ball from Pittsburgh running back Benny Snell late in the first quarter, and Arizona’s Terrell Suggs recovered the fumble.
Missed tackle: The Cardinals ran a fake punt early in the third quarter on fourth-and-8 at their own 41, and Edmonds picked up 9 yards on a direct snap by getting past the Steelers’ Kameron Kelly.
Best kick: Berry boomed a 69-yard punt early in the third quarter.
Best coverage: The Steelers didn’t allow a Cardinals receiver to get open on four straight plays in the last 1:42 of the game to seal the victory.
Worst coverage: Haden got picked by his own teammate, and it allowed Arizona tight end Charles Clay to run free across the field for a 5-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter.
Costliest penalties: Arizona defensive back Byron Murphy was flagged for pass interference on Pittsburgh’s James Washington on two drives in the second half that produced 10 points for the Steelers.
Best call: On second-and-2 at the Arizona 39 with 4:35 left in the game, Pittsburgh ran out of the wildcat formation, and Johnson ran for 16 yards on a handoff from Samuels.
Worst call: The Steelers saved time for the Cardinals by passing (incomplete) on second down at the Arizona 12 with 1:55 left in the game.
Best effort: Haden made a great break on the ball to intercept Murray, in front of Edmonds, at the Steelers’ 23 midway through the third quarter.
Unsung hero: Steelers tackle Matt Feiler recovered a Hodges fumble at the Arizona 26 with 1:01 left in the first half. It allowed the Steelers to get a Chris Boswell field goal and take a 13-10 lead at the break.