CINCINNATI — The Steelers may have eked out a 23-20 victory over the reigning AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals, but the offense struggled throughout the game. Mitch Trubisky, in particular, experienced the ebbs and flows of a tumultuous AFC North football game.
While Trubisky led the Steelers down the field for the game-winning drive, he was not at all impressed by his performance on Sunday afternoon. In fact, Trubisky saw plenty of room for improvement. After going 21 for 38 for 194 yards and a touchdown, Trubisky wants to grow and create a better offensive environment for those around him.
“It can be a lot better,” Trubisky said. “I need to find more completions, connect down the field and get the ball out. I can be smarter with how I use my legs and pick up more yards. It has to be better on third downs for sure. That’s the money down for the quarterback, and you have to stay on the field. It gives the defense a break. We need to find more ways to score points, and I can do better in that aspect.”
Trubisky acknowledged there was a definitive gameplan for the Steelers to neutralize Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard. In order to do that, the Steelers wanted to get the ball out quickly and attack them laterally. With it, Trubisky was not able to air it out as much. He wants to expand that part of his game so they can open up the offense more than they did against the Bengals to start.
“I think we did a good job at that,” Trubisky said. “Only one sack, so we protected the football. We have a lot of respect for both of their ends. They’re really good players and we didn’t want them to wreak havoc and generate big plays. We have to find ways to be more aggressive offensively and stay on the field. We can get better in every aspect of the game, but we did execute that part of the game plan.”
Trubisky and the other first-year players with the Steelers earned themselves a game ball. That meant a lot to Trubusky, but there Mike Tomlin made sure those players felt wanted and warranted for their efforts. Tomlin acknowledged that the team made the big plays when necessary, and that catapulted the Steelers forward.
“It’s good to come in here, in a hostile environment and not blink, particularly the number of new guys — whether they were rookies or new to us,” Tomlin said. “I just gave all the new guys game balls. The guys that have been here before, there is a certain expectation. They know what the standard of expectation is, but I can’t say enough about the new guys and how they came alongside us and fought as if they’ve been here. And that is just so critical in environments like this.”
Trubisky and the offense will still go back to the drawing board to improve for the stretch run. With some key injuries on both sides of the football, the Steelers are in a tough spot. If they want to climb out of that tough spot on the other side, they must be productive offensively.