Going into week 6, no one expected much from the Pittsburgh Steelers.
It felt like everything was going against them. For starters, they were facing Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. For years Brady has been the bane of Pittsburgh’s existence, going into Sunday with a 12-3 record against them. The Steelers also had a depleted secondary, with Minkah Fitzpatrick, Cam Sutton, Levi Wallace, and Ahkello Witherspoon ruled out with injuries.
Add that to being ten-and-a-half-point underdogs, and most fans expected it to be an easy win for Tampa. So, imagine their surprise when the Steelers pulled out the 20-18 upset victory.
The game started out well for Pittsburgh and Kenny Pickett, who made his first career start at Acrisure Stadium. He marched the offense down the field on their first possession and threw his first touchdown pass to Najee Harris. This was the first time the Steelers scored a touchdown on their opening drive since week 10 last year against Detroit.
From then on it was a battle between Brady and the Steelers’ banged-up defense. Luckily for Pittsburgh, they made enough big plays when needed to hold on to the lead the entire game. Perhaps the biggest play came towards the end of the game.
With 4:38 remaining, Brady hit Leonard Fournette for a touchdown that cut the Steelers’ lead to two. Tampa then went for the game-tying two-point conversion, but Devin Bush batted down Brady’s pass to keep Pittsburgh in the lead.
This gave Mitch Trubisky, who came into the game after Pickett was sidelined with a concussion, a chance to put the nail in the coffin. He and Chase Claypool then connected twice on third-and-long to allow the Steelers to run down the clock and secure the win.
Special teams pitched in too, with Steven Sims’ 89-yard kickoff return and Chris Boswell’s 55-yard field goal highlighting their play. Sims continues to show why he is the right guy for the job on kick returns. Ever since Gunner Olszewski was benched for his poor play, Sims has taken the opportunity and ran with it.
All these factors helped the Steelers pull off the statement victory. There was no other choice than to win; a loss meant the first 1-5 start since 1988 and a large hole to dig out of. But, with their backs against the wall, everyone rallied together to defeat the greatest QB of his generation. If that doesn’t boost their confidence, I don’t know what will.
Steelers Week 7 Preview
Pittsburgh looks to continue their momentum as they hit the road for two straight games, starting in Miami for Sunday night football. The Dolphins look to snap a three-game losing streak, with their most recent loss coming Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. They also look to get starting QB, Tua Tagovailoa, back after dealing with concussion issues.
For the Steelers, they may get Pickett back if he is cleared and practices this week. Will there be another QB controversy between him and Trubisky? Not if Mike Tomlin has anything to say about it. He went on the record and said Tuesday that if Pickett is cleared, he is starting Sunday night.
They could also get several defensive starters back, depending on their participation in practice. This includes Fitzpatrick, Sutton, and Witherspoon. There were also a couple of injuries from Sunday’s game to keep an eye on. Larry Ogunjobi suffered a knee injury, while Myles Jack and James Daniels sustained ankle injuries. Mason Cole also continues to nurse a foot injury and Sims is dealing with a hamstring issue.
So, some of the lineups for Sunday’s game are still up in the air. It all depends on how the practices go this week.
Until then, let’s just enjoy the fact that the Steelers beat Brady in perhaps his final game against Pittsburgh. That’s enough to put a big smile on Steelers Nation’s faces!