Seemingly, off-field drama and poor defense might derail the Pittsburgh Steelers’ season before it’s barely begun if they can’t turn it around in Week 3. The Black-and-gold’s Monday night clash with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers now looks much more imposing than it did before the season started.
With the undefeated Buccaneers among the league’s more-surprising teams during the first few weeks of the season, the Steelers will need to play much better than they’ve done in Weeks 1 and 2 if they hope to get their first win of 2018 in Tampa. As much as Antonio Brown has been garnering all the headlines this week, the real story should’ve been the play of the defense last Sunday — and the prospect of playing the NFL’s highest-rated quarterback is an daunting one.
Ryan Fitzpatrick leads the league with 819 yards passing and a 151.5 quarterback rating, while completing 78.7 percent of his passes and throwing eight touchdowns to only one interception. But as dominant as the Buccaneers have been on offense, their defense has been feckless. Pittsburgh might have given up a disgusting 63 points through two weeks, but Tampa Bay has allowed 61 points, and only one team in the NFL has given up more yards on defense than the Buccaneers’ average of 443.5 yards per game.
If the Steelers’ defense can play a half-decent game, a win should be quite likely — but we could have said the same about the last two games as well.
Game: Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1-1) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0)
Date: Monday, September 24
Kickoff: 8.15 p.m. ET
Venue: Raymond James Stadium
Weather: Live weather update
TV Channel: ESPN, broadcast locally on KDKA-TV-2 with Joe Tessitore, Jason Witten and Booger McFarland as commentators and Lisa Salters the sideline reporter. Check the national broadcast map to see if the game is on in your area.
Online: NFL.com Game Pass on delay in the U.S and live for international viewers or live in the U.S via a subscription to NFL Sunday Ticket. The NFL Game Center will update the action on a play-by-play basis.
Radio: Steeler Nation Radio with Bill Hillgrove and Tunch Ilkin as commentators and Craig Wolfley as the sideline reporter. Broadcast live on WDVE 102.5 FM and WBGG 970 AM in the Pittsburgh area and via their local affiliates. Listen online via Steelers.com and with the Steelers Official Mobile App. Alternatively, you can listen to a radio broadcast on SiriusXM.
You can also follow Behind the Steel Curtain on Twitter to catch all of the highlights as they happen, and be sure to check back with us after the game for our post-match roundup.
As of Thursday, David DeCastro and Marcus Gilbert look to be the biggest question marks for the game after both offensive starters sat out practice. DeCastro is possibly the biggest question mark for Monday as he deals with a fractured hand. Joe Haden is showing positive signs as he recovers from a hamstring injury, and he seems to have a good chance of playing against the Buccaneers — assuming he has no setbacks over the weekend.