7 Steelers surprises in Sunday’s win over the Bucs

Each week our SCU staff and contributors picks the “surprises” from the Pittsburgh Steelers latest matchup. Check out more below to see which plays and situations surprised us the most!

On Sunday, the Pittsburgh Steelers hosted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for their Week 6 matchup at Acrisure Stadium.

The Steelers overcame the odds and defeated Tom Brady‘s squad by a final score of 20-18. Here are some of the surprises from that game.

Embed from Getty Images

How many point underdogs?

Depending on which Pennsylvania sports betting website you were looking at before the game – and when – the Steelers were anywhere from an 8-point underdog to a 9.5-point one.

That’s because of a number of injuries to the Steelers defense, namely a secondary that was missing a ton of players.

Embed from Getty Images

The new “no-name” defense?

Who was playing for the Steelers defense on Sunday? I’m still unsure of some of the names…

Three cornerbacks (Cameron Sutton, Ahkello Witherspoon, and Levi Wallace) plus an All-Pro starting safety (Minkah Fitzpatrick) were all ruled out before the game. Toss in an already missing T.J. Watt, and his pseudo fill-in, DeMarvin Leal, both sitting on Injured Reserve, and all you could say as a fan is “yikes”.

Brady, and his plethora of weapons, should’ve had a field day with after-run replacements such as Josh Jackson, James Pierre, Quincy Wilson, Tre Norwood and Elijah Riley.

Jackson, who joined the team on September 5th (following training camp cuts) was beating out Pierre for playing time. Riley was signed to the practice squad following camp, and Wilson joined the same on September 21st.

Norwood was a year removed from being a seventh round draft pick. Even the veterans, such as Terrell Edmunds and Arthur Maulet, probably don’t keep opposing offensive coordinators up at night!

And yet, here they were, duking it out arguably the best quarterback to ever play the game, holding Brady to 243 yards, 1 touchdown and 6.1 yards-per-attempt.

Embed from Getty Images

Blame Canada?

Last week, everyone wanted to have Matt Canada fired: I’m looking around this week to see if that’s still the case.

The Steelers offense scored their first opening possession touchdown since Week 10 of 2021 (where Mason Rudolph did the same against the Detroit Lions.) Pittsburgh would also see their first wide receiver touchdown catch of the season too.

There’s a sketchy set of play calls, near the end of the first half, outlined below. Otherwise, Canada called a clean game where both quarterbacks performed well.

Embed from Getty Images

Overly criticized players stepping up

What do the following players have in common? Chase Claypool. Devin Bush. Najee Harris. Mitchell Trubisky. Terrell Edmunds.

Ask any yinzer if those players are “good” and wait for the exaggerated response as to why those players were in couch QB’s doghouse.

Yet, Claypool sliced the Bucs for 96 yards and a touchdown. Harris was more decisive and crisp after ceasing use of a metal plate in his shoe. Bush knocked down a would-be game-tying two-point try in the fourth quarter. Edmunds had several grown man plays to his credit…

And Mitchell Trubisky, who I’ve had plenty to say about, played like a man possessed.

It was a all-hands on deck effort and it was refreshing to see some of these “bigger” names making plays on Sunday.

Kevin Dotson death threats

We know yinz love the hometown rookie, Kenny Pickett, but please: stay classy Pittsburgh.

I know Dotson had a rough day, but this should never happen. (What does it take for yinz to be happy about a win?!)

Embed from Getty Images

Worth repeating: They beat Tom Brady

Did I mention that the unknown names above beat Tom Brady? Did I mention how great Brady is?

Yeah, I still can’t believe it either!

Embed from Getty Images

Running out the half

The finish to the second quarter couldn’t have gone any worse for the Steelers.

Rather than take a stab at adding points to the scoreboard at the end of the second quarter, the Steelers were unable to run out the remaining 46 seconds before halftime, and gave the ball back to the Bucs.

With a 6-yard punt return and a 15-yard completion from Brad to Chris Godwin, Ryan Succop was able to hit a career-long 54-yard field goal to close the score to within one point at half.

It was exactly what you didn’t want in such a close game, with a quarterback known for making comebacks. Thus, Steelers fans couldn’t have felt good about Tampa coming to within two, as the Steelers offense took the field with 4:38 left in regulation. However, some how, some way, the Steelers chewed all of the game clock, forcing the Bucs to use their timeouts, but completing two different third-and-longs on their way to a victory formation and collecting their second win.

Suggested articles from our sponsors