Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Players to Watch


After a rough outing in week two, the Pittsburgh Steelers looked like a different team in week three against the Carolina Panthers.  The Steelers went into Bank of America Stadium and took care of business earning their second win of the season.  However, the win was costly as the Steelers lost three starters on defense to injury.  In week four the Steelers will meet another NFC South team, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head north to Heinz Field.  Here are a few players to watch for on Sunday.

James Harrison

If the rumors are true and all James Harrison needs to do to un-retire is pass a physical to once again play for the Steelers, then consider me very excited.  I know Silverback is now 36 years old and his numbers have been declining ever since 2010 but it’s going to be nice to see Harrison back in a Steelers jersey instead of a Bungals uniform.  With Jarvis Jones being out for at least eight weeks because of wrist surgery the Steelers need another edge rusher.  Jones was off to a decent start in his second year, recording two sacks and forcing the first fumble of the year on defense.  While it will be nice to see #92 on the field for sentimental reasons, it’s also very important to see if Harrison can still play.  The Steelers were so successful against the Panthers thanks to a constant pass rush.  If Harrison looks quick and can at least get some quarterbacks pressures and help in the run game, this signing should help the defense for the time being. If he looks slow and he has no impact on defense, the Steelers may have to look elsewhere until Jones can return.

Mike Evans

After losing Ike Taylor due to a broken forearm the Steelers cornerback situation is in flux.  William Gay is expected to play right corner and Antwon Blake‘s playing time will increase greatly.  With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coming to town, the Steelers defense will have to prepare to face two massive wide receivers.  I chose rookie Mike Evans as a player to watch over Vincent Jackson because Jackson is playing through a fractured wrist, which severely impacted his performance in week three only catching two ball for 15 yards.  Evans is sized similar to Kelvin Benjamin at 6’5″ and over 230 pounds.  Benjamin was a star last Sunday against the Steelers catching 8 passes for 115 yards and he scored a fourth quarter touchdown going against Blake.   Assuming the Steelers can build a lead and Doug Martin isn’t fully healthy the Bucs will need to rely on throwing the ball with Josh McCown.  Mike Evans could be the Bucs number one target and the Steelers corners will need to step up to stop him, unlike how they performed against Benjamin.

Justin Brown / Lance Moore

Lance Moore was finally healthy and ready to play for the Steelers last Sunday for the first time in four weeks.  Unfortunately for Moore he spent his Carolina evening on the sidelines, only stepping on the field for one play.  The Steelers coaches decided to play Justin Brown in the slot over the veteran.  Brown caught two passes for ten yards and has only six receptions in three games.  It remains unclear why Moore was left out on Sunday, maybe he isn’t 100% just yet, but based on the performance of the taller Brown it may not be a bad idea to throw Moore into the game to see what he can do. Or at least give Moore a chance to play over Darrius Heyward-Bey, who has zero catches in three games.

The Steelers Offense

I wanted to add a fourth person to talk about but considering the matchup with the Buccaneers the Steelers could have a very good day on offense.  The Bucs had a terrible performance last Thursday night.  The Falcons threw for over 300 yards and ran for 144 yards.  The Steelers finally busted out of their eight quarter touchdown slump in the second half against the Panthers.  Ben Roethlisberger found Antonio Brown for two touchdown passes.  LeGarrette Blount had a rushing touchdown, while going for 118 yards.  And let us not forget about Le’Veon Bell, who did not find the end zone, but did have an 81-yard run, the longest Steelers run since 1970 when Frenchy Fuqua ran for 85 yards.  If the Steelers good play continues and the Buccaneers defense remains shaky, the Steelers should have a good day.

There you have it Steelers Nation. Who else should we keep an eye on during the Bucs game?