The Pittsburgh Steelers moved to 5-3 on Thursday night, as Kenny Pickett led a game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter to down the Tennessee Titans, 20-16. After Titans quarterback Will Levis threw four touchdowns in his NFL debut against the Atlanta Falcons, the Steelers held him to zero touchdowns and one interception, as Pittsburgh's pass rush made life tough on the rookie. The Steelers secondary wasn't shabby either, and that includes rookie cornerback Joey Porter Jr.
Porter finished with three tackles and one pass defensed on Thursday night. After the game, he revealed that he asked to shadow Titans star wideout DeAndre Hopkins the entire game.
"On Tuesday, I went to Coach T (Tomlin) and told him, 'I want 10,' " Porter Jr. said, via NFL.com. "That's what I was looking for. I don't really hide from nothing, so I was like, 'That's the matchup I want, that's the matchup I need.' (Coach) didn't really say yes on Tuesday. He was like, 'We going to think about it' because they was like, 'That's kind of crazy.' But throughout the week, they was like, 'Alright, we going to let you get 10 on some reps in,' and then throughout the game, it was like 'you just go where 10 is at.' "
Hopkins caught four passes for 60 yards Thursday night after catching four passes for 128 yards and three touchdowns against the Falcons on Sunday. Porter did not follow Hopkins on every single play, but according to Next Gen Stats, the rookie lined up with Hopkins on 72.2% of his routes (26 of 36), and allowed just one reception for 17 yards on five targets. Porter did rack up three penalties on Hopkins, including two on one play in the first quarter, but that's what comes with his physical playing style. He had a press coverage rate of 76.9% against Hopkins.
"D-Hop is one of the tops in this league, he's been doing it a long time, so definitely a lot of respect for him, but I'm the young guy so I've got to show him what I've got," Porter said. "He kept asking for calls. I was like, 'You're doing the pushing. How can you ask for calls when you're doing the pushing?' "
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The No. 32 overall pick out of Penn State has impressed early in his NFL career, and was granted his second official start on Thursday night. Porter now has the sixth-shortest odds to win Defensive Rookie of the Year (+4000), according to Caesars Sportsbook.