Watch CBS News

Patriots' JuJu Smith-Schuster has breakout game against Steelers in return to Pittsburgh

Ireland Contracting Nightly Sports Call: Dec. 6, 2023 (Pt. 1)
Ireland Contracting Nightly Sports Call: Dec. 6, 2023 (Pt. 1) 08:51

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster had a breakout game on Thursday in his return to the Steel City. 

Smith-Schuster caught four passes for 90 yards in the New England Patriots' win over the Steelers at Acrisure Stadium during "Thursday Night Football." 

The seventh-year wide receiver's 90 receiving yards set a season high and was the most receiving yards he has had in a game since Oct. 23, 2022, when he caught seven passes for 124 yards and one score as a Kansas City Chief against the San Francisco 49ers. 

Thursday's season-best performance for Smith-Schuster started on the game's first drive with a 37-yard reception from quarterback Bailey Zappe. According to ESPN's Mike Reiss, who cited ESPN Stats and Info, the 37-yard completion to Smith-Schuster was New England's first completion of 30-plus air yards this season.

New England Patriots v Pittsburgh Steelers
Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (7) of the New England Patriots celebrates after a reception in the first quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Acrisure Stadium on December 07, 2023 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Justin K.Aller / Getty Images

The big play helped New England take a 7-0 lead on a pass from Zappe to running back Ezekiel Elliott. It was the Patriots' first opening-drive touchdown of the season.

"JuJu had some really big plays today," Elliott said after the game, according to the team's website. "Two of the bigger plays of the game. I know it feels good for him to be able to come back and make plays where he was drafted and get a win. I'm super happy for JuJu."

Smith-Schuster also helped Zappe have a night to remember. The quarterback threw for 240 yards and three touchdowns to help New England snap a five-game losing streak. 

After the game, Smith-Schuster posted about his night on X, formerly Twitter. 

"Great to get the W, and great to be back in this city," he posted. 

"It means a lot," Smith-Schuster said after the game, according to the team's website. "Honestly, started my career here and coming back here and getting a 'W.' Love being on this side of the ball, I'll tell you that."

The Steelers drafted Smith-Schuster in the second round of the 2017 draft. 

While playing in Pittsburgh from 2017 to 2021, he caught 323 passes for 3,855 yards and 26 touchdowns.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.