Lending a helping hand

Keith Butler appreciates a good nose tackle, which explains why the Steelers' defensive coordinator is impressed with 6-foot-4, 304-pound defensive lineman Montravius Adams.

"I used to be a 3-4 inside linebacker when I played and I always loved havin' me a good nose guard because it made me a lot better linebacker when I had a good nose guard," Butler said. "Adams came in and did a good job for us. It's very interesting that he did."

Adams, signed on Nov. 30, played 34 defensive snaps (46 percent) in Sunday's 20-19 victory over the Ravens.

The veteran of 45 NFL games with the Packers from 2017-20 and five with the Saints this season started at nose tackle and was credited with two tackles and a pass defensed.

Ravens not named Lamar Jackson rushed 17 times for 52 yards (an average of 3.06 yards per attempt).

"He helped us and we think he'll continue to help us," Butler said. "I'm glad we got him."

Game action photos from the Steelers' Week 13 game against the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field

Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon also made his first start for the Steelers in the Ravens game.

Witherspoon (6-2, 195) was acquired from the Seahawks on Sept. 3 for a fifth-round draft pick in 2023.

"This kid is a big, tall, lanky kid that's a corner," Butler observed. "Anybody that's got that height and can play corner in this league, it's always a good advantage."

Witherspoon started 34 of 47 games played for the 49ers from 2017-20.

His appearance against the Ravens was Witherspoon's fourth for the Steelers.

"He probably hasn't been urgent enough as he should be," Butler said. "He's starting to get that now. You've gotta be able to play with a sense of urgency when you're playing corner in this league because guys can run by you. The good thing about trying to run by a big, tall kid is he's long and it's hard to throw over him."

Witherspoon demonstrated as much midway through the fourth quarter on Sunday when he got a hand on a deep pass intended for tight end Mark Andrews.

It was Witherspoon's lone pass defensed to go along with five tackles.

"He got in position, made the play on that deep throw, Butler said. "You'd like to see him intercept that but he's still learning. He's gonna continue to learn as a young fella. Smart kid, he's just gotta learn that you gotta play hard all the time in the National Football League, and I think he'll learn that."

Witherspoon was playing for cornerback Joe Haden (foot), who has missed the last three games.

"Joe's still a little bit gimpy so I don't know if we're gonna have him," Butler said, looking ahead to Thursday night's game at Minnesota.

The Vikings will host the Steelers having allowed 18 sacks, which is tied for the second-fewest in the NFL with the Rams behind the Buccaneers' 15.

The Steelers' seven sacks of Jackson upped their total to an NFL-best 37.

"We're fortunate enough to lead the league in sacks," Butler said. "I would like to lead the league in stopping the run, too. I'd feel better about that if we did, but we haven't."

The Steelers are No. 27 against the run.

"We gotta get better at that," Butler said.