What Went Right, What Went Wrong

What went right, wrong vs. 49ers

The highs and lows of the Steelers week 3 matchup against the San Francisco 49ers.

COIN TOSS: Steelers call tails. It's tails. Steelers defer. The 49ers will receive the opening kickoff.

4:30 p.m. – What Went Right: On the game’s opening possession, the Steelers came up with their first interception of the season, when a screen pass to Matt Breida was bobbled and T.J. Watt snatched the ball out of the air. After a 7-yard return, the Steelers started at the 49ers 33-yard line. After a pass to James Conner gained nothing and one to JuJu Smith-Schuster lost 2 yards, a third-down pass to Smith-Schuster gained enough for Chris Boswell to come on and attempt a 46-yard field goal. Boswell’s kick was good, and the Steelers had a 3-0 lead with 11:47 left in the first quarter.

4:40 p.m. – What Went Right: The Steelers defense had a chance at a second takeaway, this time a fumble recovery, on the 49ers second possession. A Stephon Tuitt sack on a first down play eventually set up a third-and-14, but Jimmy Garoppolo converted with a 16-yard pass to Richie James. On the next play, Raheem Mostert fumbled but eventually recovered for an 18-yard loss. The 49ers were unable to convert the ensuing third-and-15, and Mitch Wishnowsky’s punt went into the end zone for a touchback.

4:48 p.m. – What Went Right: It didn’t take Minkah Fitzpatrick long to make an impact. Midway through the first quarter, Jimmy Garoppolo tried to fit a pass into a tight window, and when Joe Haden tipped the ball, Fitzpatrick was on the spot to make the interception, and his 8-yard return gave the Steelers the ball at the 49ers 24-yard line.

4:53 p.m. – What Went Wrong: Settling for field goals is not the way to beat a 2-0 team in its home opener. After Minkah Fitzpatrick’s interception, the Steelers made one first down, but then the drive stalled when Mason Rudolph couldn’t find an open receiver on third down and was forced to scramble for a 1-yard gain that wasn’t good enough for a first down. Chris Boswell’s 26-yard field goal upped the Steelers lead to 6-0 with 2:04 remaining in the first period.

5:10 p.m. – What Went Right: Following the kickoff after Chris Boswell’s second field goal, the 49ers had moved the ball to the Steelers 15-yard line. Raheem Mostert took a pitch and as he began to work up the field, Minkah Fitzpatrick delivered a hit that forced a fumble that Devin Bush recovered at the Pittsburgh 9-yard line.

5:16 p.m. – What Went Right: After the Steelers went three-and-out following Devin Bush’s fumble recovery, the 49ers moved the ball quickly to a first-and-goal; at the Pittsburgh 7-yard line with a little help from the officials. Minkah Fitzpatrick was flagged for roughing the passer on a play in which he hit Jimmy Garoppolo neither in the head nor late, and then on the next play the Steelers were flagged for defensive holding on a running play. But then Garoppolo fumbled the exchange from center and Devin Bush recovered at the Steelers 6-yard line.

5:19 p.m. – What Went Wrong: Again after a takeaway deep in their own territory, the Steelers went three-and-out on offense. Following a 60-yard punt by Jordan Berry, and the return plus a 5-yard penalty for an illegal shift, the 49ers started at the Pittsburgh 49-yard line.

5:27 p.m. – What Went Right: The Steelers did to the 49ers what the 49ers had done to the Steelers, which was force them to settle for a field goal. After an 11-yard pass to George Kittle gave the 49ers a first down at the Pittsburgh 11-yard line, the Steelers defense stiffened, and with the help of a holding penalty, forced a short field goal by Robbie Gould. The Steelers led, 6-3, with 6:45 remaining in the first half.

5:59 p.m. – What Went Wrong: The Steelers took the second half kickoff, and after one first down, the unit fell behind the chains when a penalty on Al Villanueva for being illegally downfield set up a first-and-15. After overthrowing Diontae Johnson on first down, Mason Rudolph was flushed out of the pocket and tried to get the ball to JuJu Smith-Schuster only to have the pass intercepted by K’Wuan Williams at the Steelers 38-yard line.

6:05 p.m. – What Went Wrong: It tool eight plays, but the 49ers were able to turn the takeaway into the game’s first touchdown, which came on a 1-yard run by Jeff Wilson. The big play on the drive was a 22-yard completion to Kendrick Bourne that gave the 49ers a first down at the Steelers 3-yard line. The 49ers led, 10-6, with 9:17 left in the third quarter.

6:10 p.m. – What Went Wrong: After the 49ers took the lead with the game’s first touchdown, the Steelers received the ensuing kickoff and went three-and-out again. Two incomplete passes sandwiched a 5-yard run by James Conner, and after Jordan Berry’s punt the 49ers offense took over at their own 25-yard line.

6:22 p.m. – What Went Right: The Steelers converted a third down and did so in spectacular fashion. It was a third-and-4 from the Pittsburgh 24-yard line. Mason Rudolph hit JuJu Smith-Schuster with a slant pass, and when safety Tarvarius Moore took a bad angle in pursuit, Smith-Schuster turned upfield and out-ran the rest of the pursuit for a 76-yard touchdown. The Steelers led, 13-10, with 5:42 remaining in the third quarter.

6:31 p.m. – What Went Wrong: The 49ers offense score its second touchdown of the third quarter, both of which came on short runs by Jeff Wilson, to take a 17-13 lead with 56 seconds left in the third quarter. The 49ers marched 75 yards in nine plays, with Jimmy Garoppolo completing passes of 20 and 11 yards to Deebo Samuel.

6:41 p.m. – What Went Wrong: It was another three-and-out for the Steelers offense, with James Washington catching a short pass from Mason Rudolph and gaining 6 yards and 6 inches on a third-and-7. After Jordan Berry’s punt, the 49ers took possession at their 25-yard line.

6:52 p.m. – What Went Right: Big plays. That’s how the Steelers reclaimed the lead with 10:22 remaining in the fourth quarter. After a 10-yard run from James Conner on first down, Mason Rudolph went deep down the field to James Washington, who drew a pass interference penalty on Jason Verrett that was good for 32 yards. On the next play, Rudolph found Diontae Johnson behind the coverage for the 39-yard touchdown that gave the Steelers a 20-17 lead.

7:01 p.m. – What Went Right: Starting from their 25-yard line after a touchback on the kickoff, the 49ers offense started eating up yardage in chunks. On a third-and-goal from the 7-yard line, Richie James came in motion from his wide receiver position, and as he crossed between Jimmy Garoppolo and center Weston Richburg, the shotgun snap hit him and the loose ball was recovered by T.J. Watt at the Pittsburgh 14-yard line.

7:04 p.m. – What Went Wrong: The football gods giveth, and the football gods taketh away. Three plays after T.J. Watt’s fumble recovery, James Conner lost a fumble that DeForest Buckner recovered at the Pittsburgh 24-yard line.

7:14 p.m. – The Steelers defense appeared to have kept the 49ers out of the end zone when a third-down pass fell incomplete in the end zone on a play that started from the Pittsburgh 14-yard line. But Mark Barron was flagged for holding, and that gave the 49ers a fresh set of downs. It all ended with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Dante Pettis that gave the 49ers a 24-20 lead with 75 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

FINAL SCORE: 49ERS 24, STEELERS 20 20-17 lead.

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