Week Six Takeaways: Steelers victorious over Brady, Buccaneers

Before NFL Week 6’s game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Acrisure Stadium, there were concerns about the state of health and ability of the Steelers to field a team and offer up a game plan that gave them a chance to dig out of the 1-4 hole they were in.

In the pre-game preview, five factors were presented that would be required from Pittsburgh if they hoped to have a real shot. A Twitter poll was offered before halftime as to how fans viewed the Steelers’ success in meeting those five key items; this is how a small sampling of fans responded.

The 20-18 final score highlights why fans may have been fairly accurate in the poll. The Steelers did improve in some areas, yet the game remained close. Ultimately, Pittsburgh earned the “W” and gave troubled fans some hope for a brighter future.

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Kenny gets things started, Mitch finishes

Kenny Pickett once again got the start at quarterback. The offense needed to win the time of possession game and put points on the scoreboard. On the opening possession, Pickett put a stamp on the drive with a six-yard pass to running back Najee Harris for a touchdown.

One fear that Steelers fans had expressed – Pickett getting hurt – unfortunately came true in the third quarter on a hard hit that fans across the stadium raised voices over.

Mitchell Trubisky entered the game and surprised many fans who’d already written the game off as a loss on social media due to his appearance. Trubisky may have been unhappy, as illustrated in past interviews, that he was moved to QB2, but he swallowed any pride or bitterness he held and finished the game well, finding Chase Claypool for three major third-down conversions that ultimately led to a victory formation.

“I want to be the guy who can be counted on in those situations… Any time I get an opportunity, it’s an honor to make those plays or have the opportunity to (do so).” – Chase Claypool on making key conversions

Trubisky completed 9-of-12 passes for 144 yards in a just one quarter and a few minutes more after he took over for Pickett. It’s not a stretch by any means to say that it was the best the veteran has looked during the 2022 NFL regular season.

Depending on the outcome of Pickett’s post-game examinations, Trubisky may earn a start in Week 7 against the Miami Dolphins.

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Special teams stepped up big time

Typically, there’s not too much to worry about in regard to Chris Boswell even though he’s faced some challenges recently due to high winds; most-notably in the Buffalo Bills game. Boswell dinked one kick off the uprights, but was perfect on the day thanks to the ball finding its way inside those goal posts.

The real spark on special teams was the return duties handled by Steven Sims. The receiver looked confident and broke a big return that might have become six points had he not been dragged down just short of the wide open end zone he saw in front of him.


With the offense improved and special teams stepping up big, the Steelers defense didn’t experience the major time on the field they had in previous games and hit their stride against a formidable foe.

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Defense kept game under control

Pittsburgh’s efforts on defense should be highlighted after they effectively limited Tom Brady from turning the game into a nightmare. The longest offensive play from the Bucs went for just 28 yards; the Steelers allowing just two plays of 20 or more yards in the entire game.

“Beating Tom Brady is not an easy feat. If we see him again, we’ll see him again. But he does not make it easy on you.” – Cameron Heyward

Without several key players on defense, the Steelers knew it was key to get Brady out of his comfort zone. When they pressured up front, the Steelers didn’t over-pursue. Instead, they bottled up any push the Tampa Bay offensive line created and it resulted in Brady being less accurate in passing situations.

Pittsburgh limited Tampa Bay’s run game to just 75 yards on 26 attempts (2.9 yards per carry average) and a late touchdown. The defense stuffed Brady on a key quarterback sneak and Devin Bush prevented a two-point conversion after a Leonard Fournette rushing touchdown late in the game to set up the win.

“When we were making plays, everyone was back to having fun. That’s what we talked about this week. We needed to get back to playing with swag. We know we can, so we’ve just got to keep building,” Alex Highsmith said after the game.

The Steelers coaching staff, and defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, certainly steered the team in the right direction when preparing for and managing adjustments in this game. While the performance was less than perfect, the Steelers looked like a team united under one goal: grabbing a win over Brady and the Buccaneers.

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