Following a narrow victory over the Falcons, the Buccaneers (3-2) are headed to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers (1-4).
This is just the fourth time in franchise history that the Bucs will be playing a game in Steel City. The Bucs are 1-3 all-time in Pittsburgh, however this time they are bringing Tom Brady with them. Over the course of his career, Brady has gone 12-3 against the Steelers.
This time, however, Brady and the Bucs will not be facing off against a Steelers team led by Ben Roethlisberger. This Steelers team is being led by rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett. Pickett was the 20th overall pick in the 2022 draft, making him the first quarterback taken off the board.
The Steelers picked up free agent Mitchell Trubisky who opened the season, but after a 1-2 start, Pickett was given the starting job. Pickett completed 34 of 52 passes for 327 yards, with one interception, in his starting debut against the Bills but the team lost, 38-3.
Larry Foote says he can tell that Steelers rookie QB Kenny Pickett has the ability to process well at the NFL level.
— Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) October 13, 2022
Not only is their offense being led by a rookie, but their defense is without edge rusher T.J. Watt. Since 2017 the Steelers are 52-24-2 with him in the lineup and 0-8 without him. Without Watt in the game, the team goes from 3.5 sacks a game to just 1.4 and the points allowed go from 20.4 to 27.5.
Buccaneers Getting Back on Track
The Bucs are in first place in the NFC South, but that lead is just one game. So far this season, the Bucs have not been playing at the level they hope to reach this season.
The offense took some hits in early September in part due to injuries to the receiver and offensive line positions. Brady and the passing game have started to get into a groove, but the run game has not taken off yet. As for the defense, they looked strong to open the season, but in the past two weeks, it has had a hard time getting off the field on third down.
In the first three quarters of their game against the Falcons, the Bucs seemed poised to put together their first truly complete game of the season, but they ended up just barely escaping with a six-point win.