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Cam Heyward’s Sack Of Derek Carr Named NFL’s ‘Way To Play’ Recipient For Week 16

On an emotional night on Christmas Eve at Acrisure Stadium, Pittsburgh Steelers star defensive lineman and team captain Cameron Heyward turned in arguably the best game of his career, recording seven tackles, two sacks and batting down a pass on a night in which he vowed not to lose, helping the Steelers defeat the Las Vegas Raiders, 13-10, on the night the Steelers honored the late, great Franco Harris with a jersey retirement.

After being the last member of the defense announced on the night and running out of the tunnel with a black and white No. 32 flag honoring Harris, Heyward dominated from start to finish Saturday night, playing with a real purpose while being the best player on the field for the Steelers.

His best play of the night came on the first drive of the game, too. Though the Raiders ultimately finished off the first drive with a touchdown pass from Derek Carr to wide receiver Hunter Renfrow, Heyward stole the show on a 2nd and 8 from the Steelers’ 26 with 8:58 left in the first quarter.

Showing off his impressive strength and pass rushing ability, Heyward forklifted Las Vegas rookie left guard Dylan Parham right into the lap of Carr for the 8-yard sack, setting up a 3rd and 16.

Heyward has had plenty of sacks like this throughout his career, so this is nothing new from the All-Pro defensive lineman. Still, it’s rather impressive, especially at 34 years old. Strength has always been a huge plus in Heyward’s game, and his ability to create leverage here and put Parham on skates is teach tape overall.

The technique used on the play and the impact the play had overall was a big reason Heyward’s awesome display was named the NFL’s Week 16 ‘Way To Play’ award recipient, presented Thursday morning on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football.

The honor goes weekly to a player in the league who exemplifies proper technique on the field. The winner receives a personal, hand-written letter from Commissioner Roger Goodell, and a $5,000 donation to a high school or youth program of their choice.

Former NFL defensive back and current GMFB co-host Jason McCourty announced Heyward as the award recipient for Week 16 on-air Thursday morning.
“This guy showed grown-man strength against the Las Vegas Raiders when they played Christmas Eve night,” McCourty said Thursday, according to video via NFL.com. “He’s going to show you how to get another grown man out of your way. Look how he uses his hands and pushes the left guard straight into Derek Carr’s back.
“Cam Heyward, getting it done the right way. And look how he completes the sack. Doesn’t land on Derek Carr, doesn’t put his weight on him, but still makes the play. A big one for the Pittsburgh Steelers, as they were able to come away with the win and keep their playoff hopes alive. Cam Heyward, getting it done. Congratulations to him for setting an example and showing us the right way to play.”
Heyward’s Week 16 ‘Way to Play’ award is the second time this season a Steeler has won the NFL’s award, joining safety Minkah Fitzpatrick in Week 7 against the Miami Dolphins for his textbook hit on Dolphins running back Raheem Mostert at the goal line.
While Heyward’s sack didn’t exactly change the game as the Raiders converted the 3rd and 16 on a dump-off to running back Ameer Abdullah, it was a spectacular play overall from Heyward, who put Parham on skates and dumped him into Carr’s lap for the big sack, putting him closer to double-digit sacks on the season once again in the process.
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