It was a familiar position late in the game Sunday at Acrisure Stadium for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Clinging to a 20-18 lead following a terrific pass breakup on a two-point conversion attempt by linebacker Devin Bush, the Steelers offense took the field needing to put together a four minute drive to put the game away. Prior to Week 6’s matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Steelers weren’t able to succeed in those situations, especially against the New York Jets.
Turns out, it was a different story to be written on Sunday as backup quarterback Mitch Trubisky — in the game due to a concussion suffered by rookie Kenny Pickett — engineered a stellar four-minute drive, using his legs on the final two plays from scrimmage on a 9-yard run off of a read-option and a 3-yard quarterback sneak before kneeling the ball, sealing the win.
Prior to his heroics with his legs, Trubisky was money through the air, completely a 3rd and 15 to Chase Claypool for 17 yards and a 3rd and 11 to Claypool for 26 yards, helping the Steelers drain the clock and put the game away.
Following the thrilling win with their backs against the wall, Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson stated that the showing offensively is something the Steelers have to do moving forward as it led directly to winning football, and certainly had the locker room feeling rather good after the win.
“Man, it felt good today. Actually, during warmups they were playing some Lil Baby and I was just like, ‘today gonna be a good day.’ And you know, we came out first drive, you saw the tempo,” Johnson said to reporters Sunday following the win, according to video via Steelers.com. “Everybody was working as one, moving the ball. We converting third downs, making those tough catches down the field, helping out the quarterbacks. That’s what we gotta continue to do.
“I’m happy we got the W, but there’s still a lot of more work to do.”
The Steelers ended up having a rather strong day overall offensively, even though they scored just 20 points.
As Johnson pointed out, the Steelers moved the ball with pace and tempo, especially on the opening drive, scoring a touchdown for the first time in a long time under offensive coordinator Matt Canada. Outside of the success on the opening drive, the Steelers were able to convert a number of third and longs in the second half, making some difficult catches down the field.
Trubisky played very well coming off the bench cold for Pickett, while Claypool put together his most complete game at receiver in his career. It was a positive sign overall for the Steelers, but as Johnson stated, there’s still work to do. A win feels good for this group, especially after four straight losses, but it’s just one win and there’s still a long road ahead and a deep hole to climb out of.