T.J. Watt was back. So was a loud Steelers’ Nation. And those two elements helped put the Pittsburgh Steelers back in the win column. Acrisure Stadium was rocking this afternoon to welcome Watt back to the field. He made his presence known and so did the crowd, impacts that were felt right away.
Talking about the game via the Steelers’ website, Watt thanked Steelers’ Nation for impacting the game.
“They were wild, going crazy,” Watt said. “I hope we can keep that up cause it, I just want them to know how big of an advantage it really is for us as a defense. I mean it makes life hell for offenses. We’re gonna continue to try to make plays and feed off of them.”
The impact, Watt and the crowd, was felt on the Saints’ first snap of the game. With the stadium rocking and a late defensive line stem, New Orleans’ offense was called for a false start on the first snap of the game. Entering the game with two new offensive linemen and leaving with three after LT James Hurst went down, the Saints’ collective five looked overmatched. They were unable to establish a run game and Pittsburgh got consistent pressure, sacking QB Andy Dalton twice but getting to him several other times.
Watt reminded the football world how good he is right out of the gate. He registered two assisted tackles on his first series and drew plenty of attention on New Orleans’ initial third down, allowing Alex Highsmith to run a game and come free up the middle on the other side, forcing Dalton to throw short and the Saints to punt.
The Saints were the sloppier team Sunday, penalized a whopping ten times to the Steelers’ three. Pittsburgh also won the turnover battle +2, continuing the Saints theme of struggling in that category this season. They’ve now turned the ball over 19 times this season and are -12 in turnover differential.
While the Steelers’ 3-6 record isn’t anything to write home about, Pittsburgh is at least 2-2 at home. They’ll stay in the city for next Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals before going on a two-game road stand. But for one day, Watt and Steelers’ Nation made everything feel normal and Pittsburgh can finally feel good about a win.