Cardinals win, 24-10, handing the Steelers a bad loss. Pittsburgh will look to rebound Thursday night at home against the Patriots.
Steelers vs. Cardinals score: James Conner runs over former team in Arizona upset; Kenny Pickett injures ankle
Conner ran for 105 yards and two TDs in Arizona's upset win; here are our takeaways
While it was an upset on paper, the Cardinals' 24-10 thrashing of the Steelers was anything but a fluke. Arizona (3-10) dominated in all three phases en route to its first road win since Week 10 of last season. Pittsburgh (7-5) not only lost the game, but also quarterback Kenny Pickett to an ankle injury late in the first half.
Aside from Pickett's injury, the story of the game was the brilliance of running back James Conner, who rushed for 105 yards and two touchdowns against his former team.
Not even the Steelers or two weather delays would stop the Cardinals, who led 10-3 at halftime after Kyler Murray capped off a 99-yard drive with a five-yard touchdown pass to Trey McBride. The score was set up by Arizona's defense after it stonewalled Najee Harris on fourth-and-goal on the first play following Pickett's injury.
Arizona started the second half with another scoring drive that was punctuated with a touchdown run by Conner. Conner then sealed the win with a nine-yard touchdown run and a 30-yard run after Pittsburgh made it a two-score game.
Here's a closer look at the Cardinals' shocking win.
Why the Cardinals won
A big reason for Arizona's success was its dominance on third down and in the red zone. The Cardinals were 10 of 17 on third down compared to Pittsburgh's 4 of 11. Arizona was 3 of 3 in the red zone, while the Steelers were 1 of 3.
Arizona was 5 of 5 on third down on its 99-yard scoring drive that included Murray's touchdown pass to McBride.
Why the Steelers lost
Pittsburgh was woefully out-played, and when they weren't being out-played, they were shooting themselves in the foot with penalties and poor execution. An example of this was center Mason Cole's low snap that led to a fumble that set up Conner's game-winning touchdown run midway through the third quarter. Chris Boswell's missed field goal after play resumed in the third quarter was another example of poor execution.
Defensively, Pittsburgh struggled to contain Conner and Murray. Injuries to Pickett and Elandon Roberts (groin), guard Isaac Seumalo (shoulder) didn't help matters. With Roberts out, the Cardinals took full advantage of a Pittsburgh defense that continues to suffer injuries at inside linebacker. Minkah Fitzpatrick was also physically compromised; Pittsburgh's Pro Bowl safety played the second half with a cast protecting a broken left hand, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said during his postgame press conference.
The Steelers' offense struggled to do much with Mitch Trubisky under center, as question marks continue to surround Pittsburgh's underperforming offense.
Turning point/play of the game
While it wasn't pretty, Pittsburgh appeared to be in control of the game late in the first half. They were having success on the ground and had a first-and-goal on the Cardinals 7-yard-line. Everything changed, however, after Pickett left the game with an injury on a short run on third-and-goal.
On the very next play, Harris was stopped short of the goal line by Kevin Strong and Jesse Luketa. Arizona then proceeded to march the length of the field while taking a lead it wouldn't relinquish.
Pittsburgh has a short week before they host New England on Thursday night. While the Patriots are not having a good season, Bill Belichick has historically had the upper hand over the Steelers. Belichick is 13-4 against Pittsburgh during his time in New England but is 0-1 in games without Tom Brady as his starting quarterback.
Arizona finally heads into its bye week before beginning the final month of their season with a home game against the 49ers. San Francisco recorded a 35-16 win over Arizona back in Week 4. Christian McCaffrey starred in that game with four touchdowns and 177 total yards.
Conner is saying "Feed me" after picking up a first down after breaking Watt's tackle attempt.
Watt is clearly compromised.
Here's a look at what is likely the game-clinching TD.
Big run by James Conner, a 30-yard bust that is helping the Cardinals sew up this win.
Diontae Johnson scores a TD to make it 24-10. Then dances in the end zone as if the Steelers are the team up by two touchdowns.
James Conner scores his second TD of the game, and that should wrap it up.
This wasn't a fluke. Cardinals have out-played the Steelers in all three phases.
Cardinals already in FG range after Miles Killebrew's face mask penalty, his third of the day.
Steelers forced to punt after Cardinals blitz and put pressure on Trubisky on third down.
Cardinals closing in on what would be one of the biggest upsets of the NFL season so far.
Watt is getting his right ankle looked at on the sideline. He's wincing in pain and limping.
Cardinals settle for a check down with McBride, so Arizona will punt and pin the Steelers deep in their own territory after a holding call wiped out a TD that would have ended the game.
Wow. Rondale Moore catches a TD pass over Patrick Peterson, but a holding call wipes out it. Really unfortunate. That was a tremendous catch by Moore and throw from Murray.
Here's that exceptional catch that extended the Cardinals' drive.
Greg Dortch with a great third-down grab, giving the Cardinals a first down on the first play of the fourth quarter. Cardinals close to being in FG range. Even if they don't score, great play to extend the drive while killing more clock.
Watt is back on the field as the fourth quarter about to begin.
So Murray actually was given the first down on that run, so Cardinals have a fresh set of downs and will end the third with a 17-3 lead.
Watt leaving under his own power, but still not a good thing to see Watt leave the field.
Murray could going to be just short of the first down. He was chased down by Fitzpatrick, but the Cardinals are going to go for it.
T.J. Watt is down.
James Conner with a heads-up recovery of a Murray fumble. Mark Robinson had a chance to get the ball, but Conner pounces on it.
Trubisky had two open players downfield but he throws incomplete to Warren.
Conner Heyward unable to corral what would have been a tough catch on third down. Boswell misses the FG (only his second of the year), and the Steelers get nothing on the 48-yard scoring drive.
Pretty great completion from Trubisky to Pickens gives the Steelers a first down in FG range.
Diontae Johnson now appears to be limping after Trubisky missed him on a deep pass.
Najee Harris was open in the flat, not sure why Trubisky threw deep into double coverage instead of setting up second down with a safe dump off to Harris.
Harris with a first down run on the next play as the Steelers have a first down near midfield.
Trubisky hits Freiermuth for a first down on the first play after the delay.
Cardinals about to kickoff after a long delay. Decent amount of fans have stuck around.
The new turf added just before today's game is playing a factor. Field condition is in much better shape than it typically would.
Feel like if this delay helped anyone, it's the Steelers, who may have had enough time to figure out solutions for Pickett and Elandon Roberts being out. The running game was having success, so one would expect the Steelers to lean into that one play resumes. On defense, it'll be imperative to force ARZ into third and long situations by stopping Conner (which they've done for the most part) and preventing Murray from making plays with his legs.
NFL really doesn't have many options sans finishing this game today. The Steelers play the Patriots on Thursday night, so it has to be finished today/tonight.
Rainbow sighting in Pittsburgh. But when is this game going to resume??
Here's a look at Trubisky's fumble that set up Conner's TD:
And they've just suspended play again. No telling when play will resume.