The Pittsburgh Steelers got back into the win column Sunday, beating the New Orleans Saints 20-10 to take them to 3-6 on the season. It was a sloppy game in terms of the weather at Acrisure Stadium as well as the play on the football field as neither team cracked 200 yards passing on the afternoon. However, Pittsburgh’s running game showed up in a big way in this one as the team rushed for 217 yards with six players carrying the football including RB Najee Harris who led the way with 99 yards rushing.
When asked about how it felt to come out of the bye week and get a much-needed win, Harris was open in his response about how the team needed to go through an identity check during the team’s time off in order get right with themselves and focused on a common goal of improving as a football team to get this ship turned around yet this season.
“Yeah, man,” Harris responded to the media Sunday in the locker room on video from the team’s website. “Like I said, that bye week we talked about a lot of stuff that had to do outside of football too that can help us out on the field. I said that before in on Friday I think it was, but we’re taking a different approach here, and how to do things around the building, around just rebuilding the culture in a way. We got to change a lot of things. We’re still building, but we’re going towards the right direction.”
Harris said on Friday prior to the game that the team had a good week of practice in lead up to Sunday’s game against the Saints and also stated that they addressed issues off the football field in order to improve their performance on the field.
As in most cases, the little things become the big things over time. Studying tape, practice habits, and attention to detail in meetings during the week all play a role in executing at a high level on Sundays. QB Kenny Pickett said just as much following the team’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles right before the bye week, stating that the team needed to watch more film and be more diligent in meetings.
Based on the outside comments coming from Harris, Pickett, and other members of the team, it appears as if Pittsburgh got a little laxed and comfortable in terms of their preparation for upcoming games, leading to them not putting in the necessary work prior to the game to execute as effectively as they could. While things weren’t perfect for the Steelers’ offense Sunday, they didn’t turn the football over once, produced multiple explosive plays on the ground and through the air, and converted 9-of-17 third down attempts.
As Dave Bryan always says, games are often decided by TOX (turnovers & explosive plays). The Steelers beat the Saints in both of those categories today, leading them to victory. Improved focus throughout the week and more accountability in the locker room likely helped contribute to this turnaround over the bye week which is a start in the right direction as Harris said as Pittsburgh looks to stack wins together down the stretch.