In a frigid and defensive game, the Pittsburgh Steelers got a dramatic last-second victory against the Las Vegas Raiders. They had themselves a game on the defensive side of the ball, containing the Raiders’ star power. The Raiders came into this game with the league’s leading rusher in Josh Jacobs, and an elite receiver in Davante Adams, both of whom were non-factors. During the post-game interview on the team’s YouTube channel, Head Coach Mike Tomlin delved into what went into containing the two stars:
“That was our agenda,” Tomlin said when asked about the two Raiders’ stars. “We talked about it all week. It was those two guys and I talked about our experience of having two significant guys, and we kind of understand how to manage that dynamic runner, dynamic receiver. And I just think that we did a good job of balancing the schematics of it. And when we didn’t balance the schematics of it, the guys made the plays and understood when they were in the kitchen and they had to stand up.”
Not too long ago, the Steelers had an elite receiver and an elite running back duo with Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. As Tomlin mentioned, the team’s experience helped with having two dynamic offensive threats, which helped them in game planning against it.
The Steelers indeed played well against the two Raiders’ stars. Despite being targeted a team-high nine times, Adams was held to two catches for 15 yards. This was his third lowest total of the season, and the team’s agenda of containing him certainly showed. Meanwhile, Jacobs was held to 44 yards on 15 carries, which was his second lowest total of the season. For more context, Jacobs had at least 93 rush yards in the five games prior, as well as six 100-yard run games on the season.
Coming into this game, the Raiders were one of two teams in the top 15 in rushing and passing yards. While the frigid weather conditions hurt both offenses, the Steelers’ containing the two Raiders’ offensive threats is beyond impressive.
The Steelers did not let Adams and Jacobs take over the game, forcing the Raiders to go to others to beat them. This is an ideal game plan against star players, and it certainly worked for the Steelers. The Steelers’ second half defense was nothing less than stellar, forcing the Raiders to punt and turn the ball over three times. This was a 1970s-esque defensive game, and it is one that will not be forgotten anytime soon. The Steelers keep their playoff hopes alive, and beat the Raiders in the 50th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception in doing so.