From Week 2 through Week 5, the Steelers looked like a team that was getting worse every single week. Heading into Week 6 the Steelers trajectory and injury report didn’t give Steeler fans much room for hope. But the Steelers won, improving their record to 2-4 and pulling within one game of first place in the AFC North.
In an unexpected win, who stood out and who struggled?
The Steelers started out strong with a touchdown on their opening drive. It was their first opening drive touchdown since Week 10 of 2021, and Kenny Pickett’s first touchdown pass. The Steelers led for the rest of the game, racking up 270 yards and scoring the most points they have scored in regulation this season. The Steelers scored touchdowns on their first and second from last drives of the game, and then ran out the last four minutes to end the game.
Kenny Pickett thrived on the first drive, going 5 for 5 for 37 yards and a touchdown, but after that struggled, completing only 6 of 13 passes for 30 yards over the course of the next five drives. After Pickett’s injury, Mitch Trubisky came in and also struggled, completing 4 of his first seven passes for only 36 yards. But once the clock hit 4 minutes left, Trubisky stepped up his game, completing all five of his passes for 108 yards and a touchdown on the final two drives.
The run game struggled with Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren combining for 44 yards on 16 carries. The Steelers offense wasn’t great, and continued to show the same problems they have had all season, but the offense moved the ball and scored touchdowns to start and end the game, and that was enough to pull out a win.
Honor Roll: Mitch Trubisky, Chase Claypool, Zero turnovers.
Demerits: Diontae Johnson, The run game, 40% three and out rate.
Final Grade: C
The Steelers defense was in shambles and down a whole bunch more players, including 4 of their top 5 defensive backs. James Pierre and Josh Jackson started outside at cornerback after getting their first defensive snaps of the season in Week 5. Terrell Edmunds returned to the field and led the Steelers in tackles, he lined up all over the field and was a major reliable force on the defense. The Steelers recorded two sacks, one each for Alex Highsmith and Cameron Heyward.
The Steelers defense also held Tampa Bay to their second lowest scoring output of the season even while forcing zero turnovers. The Steelers held the Buccaneers run game down as well in this game and limited Mike Evans to 42 yards on four catches for the game. The defense was a story of unheralded or struggling players stepping up, and the Steelers got big plays and big games from James Pierre, Chris Wormley, Larry Ogunjobi, Devin Bush, Robert Spillane, Terrell Edmunds and Tyson Alualu.
The Steelers beat Tom Brady for only the 4th time of Brady’s career, and held him to one of his worst games facing them. The offense needed all the help they could get, and the defense came through just enough, helping to seal the win with a Devin Bush broken up pass to avoid a tied game with under 5 minutes left. It wasn’t a dominant performance, but it was a very good one in a very tough spot, and that matters a lot.
Honor Roll: James Pierre, Cameron Heyward, Arthur Maulet.
Demerits: Tackling Leonard Fournette, lack of turnovers, 4th down conversion defense.
Final Grade: B
Chris Boswell made both his field goal attempts, Steven Sims had an 89-yard kickoff return, Pressley Harvin punted well and the punt coverage didn’t give up any decent returns. That said penalties were a problem for players in new roles and it hurt the Steelers, although it didn’t cost the team the win.
Honor Roll: Steven Sims, Chris Boswell, Myles Boykin.
Demerits: James Pierre
Final Grade: B
The Steelers reversed their downward spiral in a Mike Tomlin classic win with a ton of his starters out and facing a talented opponent. The Steelers were in desperate need of a win and very few saw much reason to hope they could pull it off, but they did.
Final Grade: A
Now it’s your turn to tell us what you think. Vote your grade for the Steelers overall performance and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Grade the Steelers Week 6 win over the Buccaneers.
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