PITTSBURGH — The beat up Pittsburgh Steelers defense kept Tom Brady out of the end zone for 55 minutes and survived an injury to quarterback Kenny Pickett to upset the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 20-18 on Sunday.
Mitch Trubisky came on in relief of Pickett and threw a fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Chase Claypool. He then engineered a game-sealing four-minute drive for the Pittsburgh offense, ending the upset with a series of kneel downs.
Pickett threw his first career touchdown pass in the first quarter, hitting Najee Harris in the flat for a touchdown on the first Pittsburgh drive.
The Steelers and Bucs traded field goals for most of the rest of the game, but the Steelers never trailed, with the defense holding firm in the red zone every time Brady engineered a long drive.
The Steelers led 10-9 at the half and were up 13-12 in the third quarterback when Pickett absorbed a hit from blitzing Tampa linebacker Devin White and hit the back of his head on the turf. He left the game with a concussion and did not return.
Trubisky picked right up where Pickett left off, directing efficient Pittsburgh offense to a touchdown drive. He hit Connor Heyward on a free play for a 45-yard gain to set the Steelers up in the red zone. Two plays later, Trubisky hit Claypool for the 6-yard score.
Brady would not be denied for the whole afternoon, leading Tampa back on a long scoring drive capped by a Leonard Fournette 11-yard touchdown reception. But inside linebacker Devin Bush broke up the 2-point conversion pass attempt, leaving the Steelers with a lead an just over four minutes to play.
Trubisky and Claypool connected twice more on the final drive for two huge first downs, as the Steelers receiver had by far his best game of the season. Claypool finished with seven catches for 96 yards and the touchdown.
Trubisky finished 9 of 12 for 144 yards, while Pickett was 11 of 18 for 67 yards. Each threw for one score.
The Steelers defense sacked Brady twice and broke up four passes — all by linebackers — as the team went deep into its playbook to help overcome the absence of four starters in the defensive secondary.
The 2-4 Steelers will go on the road to face the Miami Dolphins in Week 7 on Sunday Night Football.