How T.J. Watt and Steelers kept playoff hopes alive by stopping Ravens late


Twenty-four minutes after the game ended, Steelers edge rusher T.J. Watt got on the phone to describe what happened next.

“Sorry for my hoarse voice,” he said, “but I’ve been yelling and screaming. I’m all sorts of out of breath here too, still.”

Watt: “We see they’re going for two, and it’s not really anything that our guys were shocked by. They’re a team that likes to take chances and go for it on fourth down. I fully respect their decision, especially with Lamar. But the two-point play is something we take pride in stopping. Every week in the practice—and all the time in training camp—we work on it. We call it ‘Seven shots.’ Seven shots the offense gets to score from the 2. So it’s something we definitely are prepared for. This week, our offense used multiple guys [to simulate Jackson] on the scout team. Ray-Ray McCloud, one of our quick receivers, went and did some reps. We were prepared.

“The fans were going absolutely crazy. Terrible Towels waving like crazy. Just a special atmosphere. But once the play’s called, and you know your assignment, you just lock in, and it’s football.”

I told Watt it looked like his assignment, at left end, was to not let Jackson get outside, and to pressure him without him juking and getting getting free.

“That’s exactly it,” he said, “but you know. It’s no easy task.”

Baltimore Ravens v Pittsburgh Steelers
Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt. (Getty Images)

Watt went upfield at the snap to close off Jackson’s outside rush lane, as Baltimore tight end Mark Andrews sprinted to the right behind the line across the formation. Watt then lunged toward Jackson, who knew he was going to have to throw it just a tick sooner than he wanted because of Watt in his face. “The play I replayed in my head all week was Lamar pump-faking me last year in Baltimore and beating me for a 14-, 15-yard scramble. So in this scenario, I just want stay on my feet and get my outside arm up to try to influence him, change his angle.”

Watt did that. Jackson dropped down and made a sidearm-flick, evading Watt’s hot breath, and the ball floated toward an open Andrews.

“It all happened so fast,” Watt said. “I know I’m not getting to him, so I want to affect the play as much as I can. Did I affect his throw? I don’t know.”

“GREAT PLAY CALL!” Tony Romo yelled, meanwhile, on CBS.

Andrews got his big left hand on the ball at the 2. A catch, and Andrews walks in for the winning points, and the Ravens own the division. An incompletion, and every team in the division has six, seven or eight wins, and a sprint to the finish.

The ball was inches too far. Incomplete. As Romo said, “One inch from Baltimore going to 9-3. Instead, the Steelers are alive.”

Pittsburgh, 6-5-1, is alive, but in for a funky week. The Steelers fly to Minnesota on Wednesday for their Thursday night requirement (every teams plays at least one) game against the Vikings. Tough to go on the road in a very short week after the semi-annual slugfest with the Ravens. Nothing’s easy for the Steelers this year, and the road to the playoffs won’t be either.

Read more from Peter King’s Football Morning in America column

NFL quarterback rankings 2023: Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of upcoming NFL season


While the NFL is a league that is ever-changing, some things are set to stay the same in 2023 — like the revealing of Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown.

Last year’s list saw Josh Allen take his place atop the quarterback throne, with Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Los Angeles’ Justin Herbert not far behind at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. It was, however, Mahomes who would ultimately reign over all NFL quarterbacks at the end of the season, as the 27-year-old collected both the NFL MVP honors and his second Lombardi Trophy.

This NFL offseason, however, has brought some intriguing adjustments that are likely to shake up Simms’ rankings.

While some signal-callers such as Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson found their prolonged home with massive contract signings, others will be venturing to a new franchise in search of a fresh start. Aaron Rodgers‘ trade to the New York Jets is unquestionably the most staggering shift, but other quarterbacks on the move such as Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo cannot be forgotten.

RELATED: Mike Florio gives an inside look into the Lamar Jackson deal

And with three of the first four picks in the 2023 NFL Draft being spent on a quarterback, emerging talent will likely turn the tides for some franchises this upcoming season.

See below for Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of the upcoming season. Be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for more on the 2023 NFL season as well as an unfiltered look at the NFL featuring player access, unabashed opinion, X&O film breakdown and stories from a life in and around football.

RELATED: Peter King’s latest offseason NFL power rankings

Chris Simms’ 2023 Top 40 QB Countdown:

40. Desmond Ridder (ATL)

39. Sam Howell (WAS)

38. Bryce Young (CAR)

37. CJ Stroud (HOU)

36. Anthony Richardson (IND)

35. Mike White (MIA)

34. Gardner Minshew (IND)

33. Taylor Heinicke (ATL)

32. Jarrett Stidham (DEN)

31. Jordan Love (GB)

30. Davis Mills (HOU)

29. Tyler Huntley (BAL)

28. Andy Dalton (CAR)

27. Sam Darnold (SF)

26. Brock Purdy (SF)

25. Kenny Pickett (PIT)

24. Baker Mayfield (TB)

23. Justin Fields (CHI)

22. Jimmy Garoppolo (LV)

21. Tua Tagovailoa (MIA)

20. Mac Jones (NE)

19. Kyler Murray (AZ)

18. Derek Carr (NO)

17. Jared Goff (DET)

16. Ryan Tannehill (TEN)

15. Geno Smith (SEA)

14. Russell Wilson (DEN)

13. Dak Prescott (DAL)

12. Kirk Cousins (MIN)

11. Daniel Jones (NYG)

10. Matthew Stafford (LAR)

9. Deshaun Watson (CLE)

8. Aaron Rodgers (NYJ)

7. Jalen Hurts (PHI)

6. Trevor Lawrence (JAX)

5. Lamar Jackson (BAL)

4. Justin Herbert (LAC)

3. Josh Allen (BUF)

2. Joe Burrow (CLE)

1. Patrick Mahomes (KC)

2023 NFL Schedule Release: Start time, how to watch, live stream, channel


With another exciting NFL Draft in the books, teams can now turn their gaze toward the road to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. The path to Super Bowl glory, however, is about to become abundantly more clear with the 2023 NFL season schedule release.

This year’s NFL season schedule release is nearly here, with the entirety of the 2023 NFL schedule being unveiled on Thursday, May 11 at 8 p.m. ET on both Peacock and NFL Network. See below for everything you need to know for one of the offseason’s most anticipated events.

RELATED: Click here for full analysis on Rounds 1-7 of the 2023 NFL Draft

When will the 2023 NFL season schedule be released?

While all 272 matchups have been known since the conclusion of the 2022 regular season, the order and dates for these games have remained a mystery. The secret is nearly out, however, with every NFL game on the brink of revelation.

The full 2023 NFL schedule will be released on Thursday, May 11 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

How can I watch the 2023 NFL season schedule release?

The 2023 NFL season schedule release will take place Thursday, May 11 on Peacock, NFL Network, and the NFL app at 8 p.m. ET.

While the entirety of the schedule will be unveiled at that time, select games have already been and will continue to be released prior to the official event. Ahead of the 2023 NFL season schedule release, the following games will be announced:

Who will play in the 2023 NFL Kickoff game?

The first game of the 2023-24 NFL season will see the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs take the field in Arrowhead Stadium.

The opponent that will meet Patrick Mahomes and company in Kansas City, however, remains to be revealed.

Which NFL teams have international games in 2023?

While the majority of the matchups set to take place next season have yet to be announced, the league has already revealed which teams will head overseas for international showdowns.

Below is the full list of international NFL games for the 2023-24 season, with three in London, U.K., and two in Frankfurt, Germany.

Falcons vs. Jaguars: Week 4, Oct. 1 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Wembley Stadium in London, U.K.

Jaguars vs. Bills: Week 5, Oct. 8 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Ravens vs. Titans: Week 6, Oct. 15 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Dolphins vs. Chiefs: Week 9, Nov. 5 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

Colts vs. Patriots: Week 10, Nov. 12 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

RELATED: NFL’s 2023 international games full of “star power”

When is the Super Bowl and where will it be taking place?

Stars will be shining bright in Las Vegas, Nevada, for Super Bowl LVIII, set to take place on Feb. 11, 2024, at the home of the Raiders in Allegiant Stadium.

This will be the first Super Bowl to ever take place in Las Vegas, which hosted the 2023 Pro Bowl and 2022 NFL Draft.

Be sure to follow ProFootballTalk for the latest news, updates, and storylines about the upcoming NFL season!