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Steelers News: Goal No. 1 for the Pittsburgh offense is getting off to a fast start vs. Tampa Bay

Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are over the disappointment after the Kansas City Chiefs came into Heinz Field and dismantled the home team. Heading into Week 3, the team is now solely focused on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their prime-time matchup. Something I did last season and I’m going to start again is the Black-and-Gold Links article.

This is an article where I take stories from quality news sources across the Internet, and add them here for your viewing pleasure. I won’t be posting the entire articles, but I’ll link each story and author so that you can read the full article.

Today we focus on the fact the Steelers’ offense, although statistically impressive, needs to get off to better starts. Not just to start the game, but also on the first possession of the second half. Will they be able to do it vs. the Buccaneers on Monday night?

Let’s get to the news:

Steelers aiming for fast start on offense against Tampa Bay

By: Joe Rutter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

When the Pittsburgh Steelers gave up the first 21 points to the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday, it not only evoked disturbing memories of the January playoff loss to Jacksonville from a defensive standpoint, it also showcased the offense’s early shortcomings.

It wasn’t until the third drive that the Steelers got a first down. It wasn’t until the fourth that they got a touchdown.

Two games, two seasons, same venue, same scenario.

That the Steelers managed to tie the score against Kansas City — unlike that home playoff defeat eight months prior — did little to erase the issues created at the outset of the game.

“You need to start faster,” tight end Jesse James said. “We didn’t, obviously, and we put our defense in a bind early in the game.”

Counting that playoff loss, the Steelers (0-1-1) haven’t scored in the first quarter for three consecutive games, a streak they will try to snap Monday night at unbeaten Tampa Bay (2-0).

Through the first two weeks of the regular season, the Steelers were one of five teams that hadn’t produced any points in the opening 15 minutes. That had the Steelers grouped with the likes of Buffalo and Arizona, teams with 0-2 records heading into Sunday’s play, plus Philadelphia and Washington, who sported 1-1 records.

Establishing an early offensive rhythm against Tampa Bay not only will enable the Steelers to play with confidence, it will help quiet the crowd at Raymond James Stadium. And, perhaps most importantly, it will allow the Steelers to match scores with FitzMagic, the phenomenon created by quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick’s hot start. Thanks to Fitzpatrick, the Buccaneers are averaging 482 yards and 37.5 points.

“On the road, it’s definitely important to start fast,” quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. “If you can put pressure on the other team, that’s always better.”

Kevin Gorman: Big-play Bucs present challenge for Steelers corners to cover

By: Kevin Gorman, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

The Pittsburgh Steelers have reached the point where the secondary has become their primary concern, to the point where the thought of facing Ryan Fitzpatrick following Patrick Mahomes sends shivers down your spine.

And you thought tying the Browns was bad.

In the Monday Night Football game at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Steelers’ cornerbacks face the NFL’s top passing offense through the first two weeks of the season.

That’s a challenge for the cornerbacks, a position at which the Steelers have invested a first-round pick in Artie Burns, a third-rounder in Cameron Sutton and a three-year, $27-million deal in Joe Haden. They need that investment to start paying off.

“I honestly think every week as a corner you have to take it personal,” Steelers cornerback Coty Sensabaugh said. “It’s a passing league. The league wants to see a lot of points scored, fans want to see a lot of points scored, so as a corner you have to take it personal every week because most teams have numerous receivers that can play. Very seldom to do you find a team with no receivers.

“It’s more of a spotlight because it’s Monday Night Football, and everybody is watching. When you step on that field, your film is your resume. Every week, every play, you’ve got to be ready to go.”

The Bucs lead the league in passing yards per game (405) and passing yards per attempt (13.4). Journeyman Fitzpatrick has flourished in subbing for suspended starter Jameis Winston, delivering to big-play receivers DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans and tight end O.J. Howard who Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler called “exceptional.”

“He understands what defenses are trying to do,” Butler said of Fitzpatrick, who has an 0-5 career record against the Steelers. “He knows who to read, who not to read and who’s what we call the ‘huckleberry’ on your defense — who he can try to take advantage of.”

The Steelers already might have identified the huckleberry on their own by benching Burns, their 2016 first-round draft pick. After Mahomes completed 23 of 28 passes for 326 yards and six touchdowns without an interception in the 42-37 loss to the Chiefs, the Steelers appear set to start Sensabaugh against the Bucs.

Steelers mull changes in secondary for Monday Night Football

By: Jeremy Fowler, ESPN

The Steelers might be shaking up their cornerback lineup for Monday Night Football.

Veteran corner Coty Sensabaugh confirmed he received some first-team reps during Saturday’s practice, making him a potential starter over Artie Burns at the outside corner spot opposite Joe Haden.

Sensabaugh said Burns started the practice, and he isn’t sure what his role is for the Week 3 matchup with Tampa Bay. The Steelers are trying to tighten up after giving up 42 points to the Chiefs last week.

”I’m expecting to find out just like you guys,” Sensabaugh said. “Whenever my number is called, go in. Whenever they are taking me out, go out. Just going with the program.”

Burns, a first-round pick in 2016, has started 27 games in his career. He was part of a secondary that experienced multiple communication breakdowns on which Patrick Mahomes capitalized.