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Trubisky Admits Mistakes, Interceptions Crush Steelers



Steelers QB Mitch Trubisky

PITTSBURGH — For the second time this season, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mitch Trubisky was asked to come off the bench and lead the team after Kenny Pickett entered the concussion protocol.

The first time, it went wonderfully, with Trubisky putting up the best half of quarterback stats the Steelers have had all season in a Week 6 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The second time, the Steelers were once again able to move the ball well under Trubisky’s leadership, right up until it was time to score. Trubisky threw three interceptions, all of which were caught inside the Baltimore Ravens’ 10-yard line, as the Steelers lost by two points, 16-14.

The Steelers really did move the ball well under Trubisky, getting into Baltimore territory on seven consecutive offensive drives. But they came away with just two scores on those seven possessions.

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

“We didn’t do things necessary to secure victory,” head coach Mike Tomlin said. “Particularly how these two teams come together and the nature of these matchups, you know points are precious. We turned the ball when we were in scoring territory a couple of times, taking points off the board.”

Trubisky was notably risk-averse during his stint as the Steelers’ starting quarterback at the beginning of the season. He said on the whole that he was happy with the fact that he was aggressive, but needs to find a happier medium between being aggressive and being careless with the football.

“I wanted to go out there and run the offense,” Trubisky said. “Obviously, I was aggressive. Overly aggressive at times. That showed up in the turnovers. But it was great to be back out there with the guys. I appreciated everybody battling, all four quarters. There’s a lot of stuff I can do better.

“Coming off the bench, I just wanted to come in there and provide a spark. I thought we did a good job of moving the ball, but I’ve got to protect the football and that’s obvious.”

Trubisky’s first interception came on a red-zone crossing route where he was looking for Pat Freiermuth, but Freiermuth and Steven Sims arrived at the center of the Baltimore defense at the same time. Roquan Smith, who was trailing Sims in coverage, ended up right in Trubisky’s line of fire to Freiermuth and made the easy interception.

“The did a good job collisioning Pat on the line of scrimmage, which made his route take a little longer,” Trubisky said. “I stuck with him, probably could have done a better job with my eyes looking off. When it just takes a little longer, two guys in one spot … the linebacker made a good play.”

On the very next drive, Trubisky once again drove the Steelers into scoring position before he forced a pass to Freiermuth over the middle into double coverage. Patrick Queen went up and made that play.

“I kind of forced that one.” Trubisky said. “When the linebackers get depth like that, there’s probably someone open underneath.”

In the third quarter, the Steelers once were driving at the Baltimore 46-yard line and had a 1st and 10. Trubisky took a deep shot, looking for Diontae Johnson in the end zone, but over-threw him and safety Marcus Williams came over the top to make the pick.

“I wanted to take a shot downfield to Diontae,” Trubisky said. “I thought he did a good job going inside. He was getting behind him and stacked him. … I just threw it too far.” 

Trubisky finished with 276 yards passing, the second-most for a Steelers quarterback all season and something Pickett has accomplished just once. But the interceptions ruined what could have been a very productive day of relief.

Trubisky was forced from the starting role after just three games earlier this season, an awfully short audition. He had an opportunity to change the narrative about his benching and his career trajectory with another solid performance in relief on Sunday.

“You’ve just got to take care of the ball,” he said. “That’s on me.”