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Inside the Steelers: Pittsburgh vs Tampa Bay Preview

Since the first half ended in the season opener against the Cleveland Browns, the Pittsburgh Steelers had played about as poorly as they could manage.

Entering the Carolina game,the Steelers had been outscored and out played by a margin of 50-9 after opening up a 27-3 lead over the Browns.

Here were the Steelers again, mired in another lackluster performance against the Panthers. They lead 6-3, but the game had the feel of another loss looming in the background.

The Steelers were driving late in the 1st half, desperate to find the end zone for the first time in nine quarters. Justin Brown caught a pass from Ben Roethlisberger, and was tackled by last year’s Defensive Player of the Year in Luke Kuechly. What happened next may have sparked a turnaround in the Steeler’s season.

As Brown was trying to get up, Kuechly, roughly twice the size of Brown, shoved the 2nd year receiver back into the ground. It was a punk move. It was also a move that wasn’t going to go without consequences. Offensive Guard David DeCastro came flying in to his teammate’s defense, and shoved Kuechly, who reacted as if he were hit by a bus, and flopped to the ground like an out of water fish. DeCastro was penalized 15 yards for the infraction, and instead of a touchdown drive, the Steelers had to settle for a field goal by Shawn Suisham, and a 9-3 advantage at the half.

Some may have viewed it as a dumb move by DeCastro, but people who’ve played the game understand how such a move, sticking up for one of your own, can galvanize a team to come together.

The Steelers came out flying in the second half, outscoring the Panthers 28-16 to finish with a 37-19 thrashing of Carolina. Roethlisberger and the offense scored three touchdowns. The defense managed a special teams touchdown. Le’Veon Bell and LaGarrette Blount terrorized Carolina’s defense to the tune of 264 yards on the ground.

Now the Steelers turn their attention to the listless Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who were crushed 56-14 by Atlanta last week.


Game Information

Sunday, September 28th: Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1) vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-3) at Heinz Field, 1:00 PM.

Game Televised by CBS.

Steelers lead the all-time series against Tampa Bay 8-1.


Game Preview

Tampa come into this match-upon the heels of a 56-14 thumping at the hands of Atlanta. Tampa is a mess offensively. QB  Mike Glennon came in for Josh McCown, who suffered a sprained thumb on his throwing hand. Glennon will get the start against the Steelers. RB Doug Martin has been battling through injuries once again. He will be in uniform today, and barring any setbacks, will be the feature back. WR Vincent Jackson has enormous talent to go along with his size, but hasn’t quite lived up to expectations, though some of that falls on the shaky quarterbacking Tampa has put out. Rookie Mike Evans is another big target. TE Brandon Myers is tied with Mike Evans for the team lead in receptions with 13. Shifty RB Bobby Rainey makes a lot of catches out of the backfield. Entering week 4, Tampa is ranked 30th in Offense, and 27th in Total Defense.

On the flip-side, the Steelers are ranked 5th in Offense and 18th in Defense. Ben Roethlisberger will look to pickup where he and the offense left off against Carolina. Roethlisberger needs just 117 yards to surpass 35,000 in his career. Antonio Brown is tied for 6th in receiving yards with 296. Le’Veon Bell is 4th in rushing with 315 yards, but also has 13 catches for 146 yards. LaGarrette Blount will look to continue giving his best when called upon. Bell and Blount were the first Steeler’s duo to each rush for over 100 yards since 1986. Lance Moore is hoping to see more time at WR, as he works his way back from early season injuries. Moore played just one snap last week. Running Back Dri Archer is expected to be available after being out the past two games.

Defensively, James Harrison has been re-signed out of retirement, to aide in the losses of Ryan Shazier, who will miss at least one week, and Jarvis Jones, who is out a minimum of eight weeks with a dislocated wrist. Arthur Moats and Sean Spence will start in Shazier and Jones’ absences. The Steelers will turn to William Gay to replace Ike Taylor, who is out with a broken forearm for two months or better.

The Steelers have a big opportunity to get some early season momentum and rack up some wins with such a soft schedule ahead. They cannot afford any let downs. With the home crowd on their side, look for the Steelers to come out energized. Steelers will prevail 30-10.

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Mike DrakulichYour source for Pittsburgh sports!
From Midland, "The Basketball Capital of Pennsylvania", located 35 miles NW of Pittsburgh along the Ohio River. This former steel town was home to storied athletes such as Dave Alston, Norm Van Lier, Simmie Hill, and the legendary 1965 Midland High School Basketball Team.

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