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- Steelers vs. Buccaneers Final Score: Steelers starters shine in 27-17 win over Tampa Bay
Steelers vs. Buccaneers Final Score: Steelers starters shine in 27-17 win over Tampa Bay
The Pittsburgh Steelers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers squared off in Florida Friday night in Week 1 of NFL preseason action, and many questions surrounded both teams.
- Will the Baker Mayfield era be beginning, or will Kyle Trask take the job?
- Will Kenny Pickett and the Steelers offense take the expected step forward?
- How many starters will play, and how long, on both teams?
Nonetheless, when the game got started it was Pittsburgh starting the game on defense. Three straight runs resulted in a 3-and-out and a Buccaneers punt. When Kenny Pickett and the offense took over, it was a typical Steelers drive fans saw plenty of in the second half of the 2022 season.
Methodical, time-consuming, and balance were adjectives to describe the team’s drive which showed plenty of Kenny Pickett to Diontae Johnson, but as the team got near the end-zone it was Pickett to George Pickens for the touchdown, giving the Steelers the early lead.
THE GEORGE PICKENS BREAKOUT SZN IS HERE
— PFF (@PFF) August 11, 2023
Nursing a 7-0 lead, following several punts after the Pickens score, the next score wasn’t until the second quarter. Aided by a very questionable unnecessary roughness call on Kwon Alexander, the Buccaneers were set up on the outskirts of the red-zone. On 3rd down, Baker Mayfield hit Trey Palmer in the back corner of the end-zone, over James Pierre, for the Buccaneers first touchdown.
The extra point tied the game 7-7 with Trubisky remaining in the game to start the second quarter. On the first play following the touchback, Trubisky’s pass intended for Cody White was underthrown and resulted in an interception.
Tampa Bay tried to impose their will on the Steelers’ defense, going for it on 4th-and-1 at midfield, and the Pittsburgh defense stood tall and dropped the ball carrier for a loss. The turnover on downs gave the Steelers their next possession in Tampa Bay territory, and the Steelers wasted little time striking with a jet sweep to Calvin Austin III.
The run moved the ball to the 30-yard line, and following a 3rd down completion to Connor Heyward the Steelers were in the red-zone for the first time in the game. The next play was a run off tackle by Anthony McFarland for the touchdown.
.@AnttMacc_ for 6️⃣
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 12, 2023
The extra point was good, making the score 14-7 with 8:18 left in the first half.
Kyle Trask took over at quarterback for the Buccaneers, and on 3rd and 19 his pass was undercut by Trenton Thompson for the Steelers first takeaway of the night.
Mason Rudolph entered the game at quarterback, and quickly moved the Steelers into Tampa Bay territory. However, Kendrick Green then got in the way. Green was called for a holding call, which negated a big Anthony McFarland run, and then a bad snap set up a 2nd and 36. Needless to say, the drive stalled and resulted in a punt.
A defensive stand gave the Steelers the ball back with all three timeouts and 1:10 left in the second quarter. Two quick passes, the biggest to Connor Heyward, moved the offense to the 30-yard line. With 45 seconds remaining, an incompletion and sack ensued and resulted in the Steelers facing a 3rd and 15 with 34 seconds left in the half, Rudolph scrambled for the first down.
Rudolph hit Cody White on a crossing route, but the play resulted in just a closer field goal attempt. The kick was good, making the score 17-7 heading into halftime.
Pittsburgh received the football to start the second half, and after Calvin Austin III drew a defensive pass interference call, it resulted in another Potter field goal, making the score 20-7.
Following a defensive stop, it was Rudolph going up top to Calvin Austin III for a 67 yard touchdown bomb.
— Steel Curtain Network (@SteelCNetwork) August 12, 2023
The extra point made the score 27-7 still in the third quarter.
The Steelers defense, mainly rookie pass rusher Nick Herbig, continued to harass Kyle Trask and the Buccaneers offense throughout the third quarter. Herbig racked up two sacks in the quarter, and it equated in undrafted rookie free agent (UDFA) Tanner Morgan taking over at quarterback just under 5 minutes left in the third quarter.
It looked like the Steelers were going to walk away with an easy win, but a Tanner Morgan pass was intercepted giving Tampa Bay the football already inside the red-zone. Three plays later it was a field goal attempt which made the score 27-10 with 13:35 remaining in regulation.
Following multiple failed drives by both teams, it was the Steelers’ defense who stood tall on 4th down and short, again, to get the ball back to the offense near field goal range. However, a Tanner Morgan fumble pushed the Steelers out of field goal range and resulted in another punt.
With the 4th string players in at this stage, it was Tampa Bay who struck next. Just outside the two-minute warning, John Wolford hit Payne Durham for the touchdown. After the extra point, the score was 27-17 with 1:58 left in the game.
That score would hold as the final, and gives the Steelers their first win of the preseason. In Week 2 the Steelers will host the Buffalo Bills at Acrisure Stadium. Be sure to stay tuned to SCN for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of the preseason.