Though the Steelers were held to just two field goals in the second and third quarters, Pickett kept his team competitive when backup Mitch Trubisky took over. Any groove they were in was snapped after Pickett was escorted off the field and taken into the blue medical tent.
Trubisky’s first two drives ended in punts, but the Steelers finally came alive when he piloted the offense on his third attempt with a touchdown to Chase Claypool early in the 4th quarter. The score, set up by a nice 45-yard catch and run by Connor Heyward, was the first by a wide receiver all season and put the Steelers up by eight points.
Moments after the Pittsburgh Steelers revealed that Kenny Pickett was being evaluated for a concussion and questionable to return, he was ruled out for the remainder of the game.
And just like that, it was Mitch Trubisky time again in Pittsburgh.
Defensive Battle Between Steelers, Buccaneers
But it wasn’t the Pittsburgh Steelers offense that shined. Rather, it was a battle of the defenses after the game’s first eight minutes. Kenny Pickett scored the first passing touchdown of his career on a throw to running back Najee Harris on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ first drive of the game.
After Pickett’s history-making score, neither team found the end zone for nearly three quarters.
The Bucs found paydirt with running back Raschad White, defended by Steelers safety Elijah Riley, elevated from the active/inactive roster on October 15. Pittsburgh has suffered a slew of injuries to its secondary and was without three of its starting corners and star safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Despite the Steelers depleted secondary, the defense held running back Leonard Fournette to 63 yards — their fewest yards allowed all season. Per ESPN, Pittsburgh limited Tom Brady to 25 completions on 40 attempts for 243 yards.
Brady attended his former boss’ wedding Friday night and missed practice on Saturday, traveling separate from his Tampa Bay team to Pittsburgh from New York City. The time missed was evident in Brady’s low passes and struggles to connect with his receivers.
Brady was spotted giving his lineman an earful after the offense’s slow start.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin had high praise for the performance of his secondary after the game.
“I can’t say enough about what that secondary group was able to do collectively. It’s a challenge when you play Tom Brady,” Tomlin told reporters in his postgame press conference.
The tremendous heads-up play by linebacker Devin Bush was the turning point in the Steelers’ win. Bush deflected a two-point conversion attempt from Brady to Chris Godwin that, if successful, would’ve tied the game.
Chase Claypool Responds
Offensively, the star of the game was wide receiver Chase Claypool. He desperately needed a bounce-back game after being the brunt of jokes by Pittsburgh Steelers fans and media for his lackluster performance to start the season.
In addition to 96 receiving yards, Claypool was (sadly) the first Steelers wide receiver to score a touchdown in the 2022 season.
With the performance, Claypool topped his season-best game by 46 yards. On the season, Claypool’s logged just 225 yards on 23 receptions and one touchdown — a far cry from his outstanding rookie season which netted 889 scrimmage yards and 11 touchdowns. Hopefully, this outing is a turning point for the Steelers’ third-year receiver.