The Steelers defense bent but didn't break on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.
And the result was a victory, as the Steelers stopped Green Bay from getting into the end zone on four of five trips inside their 20 -- including twice on interceptions in the waning moments -- in a 23-19 win over the Packers on Sunday at Acrisure Stadium.
The bend-but-don't-break defenses complimented a rushing attack that produced a season-best 205 yards as Jaylen Warren had 15 carries for a career-high 101 yards and Najee Harris had 16 carries for 82 yards as both exerted their will on the Packers and the Steelers improved to 6-3 heading into a key AFC North game next Sunday at Cleveland, which defeated Baltimore Sunday to also improve to 6-3.
"I'm just really appreciative of the mindset of our group," said Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. "They just want to make significant plays in the significant moments. It's a good thing, because these games are always tight."
Game action photos from the Steelers' Week 10 game against the Green Bay Packers at Acrisure Stadium
The Packers (3-6) had a chance to take the lead late, but Keanu Neal had an interception of Jordan Love in the end zone with 3:32 remaining. Fellow safety Damontae Kazee then picked off Love at the goal line as time expired to finish things off.
"We just find a way to win," said Steelers defensive lineman Cameron Heyward. "It's not pretty, but we find a way."
The Steelers took the game's opening kickoff down the field for a touchdown for the second consecutive week, scoring on a 5-yard touchdown run by Harris to grab a 7-0 lead. Harrish had five carries for 22 yards, while Warren had one for 12 during the drive.
But the Packers answered with a touchdown drive of their own on the ensuing possession, getting an 8-yard touchdown pass from Jordan Love to Romeo Doubs in the back corner of the end zone on third-and-7 to tie the game at 7-7.
The Steelers, however, put together a second touchdown drive on their next possession, this time with Warren scoring the touchdown from 16 yards out to put the Steelers ahead 14-7 early in the second quarter.
The Steelers forced a three-and-out by the Packers on their next possession and the Steelers turned that into a 42-yard Chris Boswell field goal to take a 17-7 advantage.
The Packers then marched their own 13 to score a second touchdown, this one on a 35-yard pass from Love to rookie Jayden Reed – again on third down. But Steelers defensive back Patrick Peterson blocked the PAT attempt and the Steelers took a 17-13 lead into the half.
The Steelers rushed for 100 yards on 20 carries in the opening two quarters.
The Packers got a return of 49 yards to the Pittsburgh 44 to open the second half, but had to settle for a 31-yard Anders Carlson field goal to cut the deficit to 17-16 as the Steelers tightened up in the red zone.
The Steelers failed to pick up a first down on their next possession and despite an excellent punt from Pressley Harvin III that flipped the field, the Packers drove from their own 22 to the Pittsburgh 15 before stalling. They settled for another Carlson field goal and a 19-17 lead – their first of the game – with 3:04 remaining in the third quarter.
But the Steelers quickly regained the lead at 20-19 with a 49-yard field goal by Boswell that was set up by a 34-yard kickoff return by Anthony McFarland and a 28-yard catch by George Pickens.
The Packers attempted a throwback pass on third-and-11 on the opening play of the fourth quarter, but the Steelers sniffed it out and dropped Aaron Jones for a 5-yard loss, forcing a punt.
On the ensuing possession, Harris broke off a 24-yard run to midfield, but Pickett underthrew Diontae Johnson on play down the sideline, then overthrew Pickens on third down and the Steelers were forced to punt.
The Steelers forced another Green Bay punt and then rode Warren into field goal range for a 35-yard kick from Boswell to increase their lead to 23-19 with 5:14 remaining. Warren had four carries for 35 yards during the drive.
"I thought those two were playing, you know, unreal today. So huge hats off to Warren and Harris, what they provided us," said Pickett.
The Packers quickly moved down the field on the strength of long passes to tight end Luke Musgrave for 28 yards and 32 yards to Dontayvion Wicks, but Peterson tipped a pass in the end zone intended for Christian Watson into the air and Neal intercepted it, returning it to the Pittsburgh 24 as the Packers were turned away in the red zone once again.
"I wish I had gotten my head around sooner, I would have intercepted it," said Peterson. "But I knew we had a safety over the top, so I was tipping it in the air for him."
"I'm glad he did," said Neal, who suffered a rib injury when tackled at the end of his return.
The Steelers ran more than two minutes off the clock and forced the Packers to use all of their timeouts, but Love hit two big passes to get the Packers into range to be throwing the ball into the end zone again at the end. This time, it was Kazee who had the interception.
"We made the necessary splash plays on defense in the waning moments, when they got somewhat one-dimensional," said Tomlin. "They do a really good job of kind of keeping you off balance schematically and minimizing that young quarterback's exposure to a defense, but later in the game when it gets a little bit thick, I thought we would have our opportunities and we did and we made them, so excited about that."