How the Steelers did everything right against Tampa Bay
The Pittsburgh Steelers just got their second win of the season and, despite the narrow margin of victory, they played a nearly perfect game to get it.
If you had gone back in time and told me that the Steelers would lose to the Jets but beat the Buccaneers, I would’ve had you committed to some sort of asylum in an instant—yet here we are.
On Sunday, Pittsburgh entered its own Acrisure Stadium with multiple pieces of its team missing. This was mainly a concern for the defense, as it was missing three cornerbacks and star safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. You never want to see absences like those when you are about to face Tom Brady, but that is nonetheless the situation that the Steelers had staring them in the face.
However, Pittsburgh was still the first to get on the scoreboard, with a short pass to Najee Harris giving them a 7-0 advantage in the opening quarter. After that was when we really started to see Tampa Bay’s inability to execute on offense.
The Bucs managed to get deep into enemy territory on multiple occasions in the first half, yet were never able to hit the end zone. As a result, they only had a pair of short-field goals to their name by the halfway point of the second quarter.
From that point, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay traded field goals to send the former into the locker room with a slim 10-9 halftime lead.
In a rather uneventful third quarter, the two teams traded field goals again (with the Bucs once again getting close to pay dirt before stalling out). There was one crisis that turned heads, though: Kenny Pickett was assisted off the field, and eventually ruled out for the remainder of the game due to a concussion.
Obviously, such sudden and heartbreaking news sent chills down the spines of Steelers fans everywhere, as Pittsburgh had already been struggling to pull away. But luckily, Mitch Trubisky had stepped onto the field with something to prove.
How well did the Steelers close the game under Trubisky?
Five minutes into the fourth, Trubisky shot a touchdown pass to Chase Claypool to bring Pittsburgh’s lead to a sturdier 20-12. Several minutes later, the Bucs went on to finally score a touchdown of their own but failed to tie the game because of an unsuccessful two-point conversion attempt.
On the game’s final possession, Trubisky found Claypool on a pair of third-and-longs en route to a pair of kneels that ended the game officially.
Now it is quite difficult to watch your team win like Pittsburgh did today and not be biased when analyzing it, but especially when compared to what we have seen so far this season, the Steelers truly did look perfect on Sunday.
They had challenges plaguing them both before and during the game, not just in regards to their opponent’s visible superiority, but also when it came to the plethora of injuries that were suffered. Yet through it all, they still put an end to their ungodly loss streak.
However, the performance was not so perfect that nothing can be questioned or improved upon. To list a couple of examples, the rushing attack was a bit overused (in spite of it rarely working to the standard that we’d hope for) and we were a bit too conservative for our own good late in the first half—which is exactly what led to Tampa Bay’s third field goal of the day. There is very little to whine about beyond that, though.
Now is certainly not the time to get complacent, but a 2-4 record is better than a 1-5 one. If the Steelers can maintain the identity that they appeared to have developed against the Buccaneers, then they are bound to win some more.