The Steelers continued an undermanned yet determined run to the postseason on Sunday, putting on an efficient and gutsy effort in Arizona, beating the Cardinals 23-17.
The win puts the team at 8-5, and if they win out they will be the 5th seed in the AFC, setting up a wild card game against either the Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans, or Kansas City Chiefs in the first weekend of the playoffs.
While it’s fresh on everyone’s minds, let’s take a quick look back at Sunday’s win in Arizona with a quick look forward at the game Sunday night against the Bills.
1. Duck Does it Again
Steelers QB Duck Hodges is becoming a hero to many Steelers fans, as he’s now 3-0 as a starter, 2-0 on the road. He was excellent against the Cardinals, not making one mistake the entire afternoon, and squeezing some balls in tight spots including a touchdown throw to rookie Dioante Johnson.
The third-string QB to start the year is becoming a great story in the league about never giving up, and he’s playing it like a gunslinger, throwing the ball and not playing afraid at all. He’s got a big test coming up Sunday night against a good Bills defense at home.
2. Once Again the Kids Step Up
It was a huge day for Dioante Johnson with both a punt return and touchdown catch, but he wasn’t the only one to shine in this six-point win, as the run game stepped up with 140 yards on 35 carries, a 4.0 yards per carry average.
The run game was paced by rookies Kerrith Whyte and Benny Snell who each rushed for 41 yards, and never seemed to go down after the first bit of contact. Hodges himself was smart rushing for 34 yards, and he made some big plays in the run game when needed.
This might have been the best game the offensive line played all season, and again these young kids continue to impress.
3. A Big Test Sunday Night
The NFL is giving the Steelers the prime time spotlight again on Sunday as they will take on the current 5th seed in the AFC in the Buffalo Bills. The Bills were beaten Sunday 24-17 by the Ravens, and they have done a nice job not allowing themselves to let losses linger.
Josh Allen is a solid second-year QB, and they have a good defense that will be a great test to a young, unproven Steelers offense.
The home crowd should help, and this will be a fun playoff like matchup next Sunday at 8:20pm at Heinz Field.
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