There was a theme late in the fourth quarter for the Denver Broncos’ offense and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater: target Pittsburgh Steelers’ young cornerback James Pierre over and over and over again.
That’s just what the Broncos did as Bridgewater found Courtland Sutton for a touchdown, making it a one-score game, and then targeted Pierre on the final drive of the game multiple times.
Pierre stood large though, breaking up a would-be touchdown with a leaping deflection, and then picked off Bridgewater on fourth down in the end zone, making a great play on the football, snapping his head around to pick off the veteran quarterback, sealing the 27-19 win at Heinz Field.
Speaking with reporters after the game, Pierre credited his coaches for helping him focus on his job, trust his eye and find the football.
One interception later in the end zone, Pierre is starting to emerge as a desirable option at cornerback for the Steelers, not only in 2021, but into the future as well.
“I knew that they was coming at me, I got beat,” Pierre said following the win, according to video via Steelers.com. “I knew they was coming at me again. I do what my coach asked me to do on the phone, just listened to my coach. That’s basically what I do. Listen to my coach, keep my eyes on my work. And that’s what I did, kept my eyes on my work. And then two steps at the receiver and just look back for the ball. And I caught the pick and had an out of body experience…it was crazy.”
Credit to Pierre for learning from the mistake on the touchdown to Sutton earlier in the quarter and correcting the issues on the fly, leading to his two impressive plays late in the game, including the game-sealing interception. He’s still relatively young and is learning. He was also making his first career start and drew a tough assignment on the outside with Sutton and Tim Patrick for the Broncos.
“I know they’re coming. I know they’re coming and I love it. I love it,” Pierre added. “It just gives me a chance to show everybody what can I do, you know? Fight for my team and just keep fighting no matter what happens.”
Hats off to the young cornerback for that mentality, not backing down from a challenge and making a play in a big spot. That will go a long way in the NFL, especially at cornerback.