The Pittsburgh Steelers bested the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday Night Football, holding off a late comeback for a 30-27 victory.
Ben Roethlisberger threw three touchdowns and 353 yards with one interception, while James Conner broke a couple big runs late to seal the game, finishing with 61 rushing yards. JuJu Smith-Schuster led the way for the Steelers, with 116 receiving yards off of nine receptions.
It was a nightmare first half for Ryan Fitzpatrick, who started the game with 11 of 21 passes completed for 184 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions, one of which was returned for a Steelers touchdown.
In the fourth quarter, though, the Buccaneers started to come back, but they came up just short. Fitzpatrick finished the game with 411 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. The Buccaneers only managed to rush for 63 yards as a team, 27 of which came from Fitzpatrick. Mike Evans caught six passes for 137 yards and a touchdown.
With the loss, the Buccaneers fall to 2-1, while the Steelers move to 1-1-1.
Below is the live blog from Sunday’s game, in reverse order.
Steelers 30, Buccaneers 27, FINAL: Fitzpatrick is nearly intercepted on 2nd-and-10, so it’s two incomplete passes for the Bucs, and a 3rd-and-10. The 3rd down pass is incomplete, and they will punt the ball away with two timeouts and the two-minute warning approaching. Pittsburgh will take over at their own 32-yard line. Conner goes for no gain on first down, and the Bucs take a timeout. On second down, Roethlisberger takes a hit, but finds Smith-Schuster for an 18-yard gain. The Bucs take their final timeout. Conner takes another rush, this one for a first down, and it’s the two-minute warning, meaning this one is over.
Steelers 30, Buccaneers 27, 3:10, 4Q: Conner picks up 27 yards on first down for the Steelers, now to the Buccaneers’ 48-yard line. Then he picks up 9 yards, setting up a 2nd-and-1. Roethlisberger sneaks it for the first. They lose 4 yards on a run by Conner, and the Bucs take a timeout. Switzer gets 5 yards on a pass, and then on 3rd-and-9, it’s an incomplete pass. The first punt is a great one, but they have an illegal shift penalty, so they will kick it again. Then there’s a penalty on Heyward-Bey for arguing with a referee, so it’s another 15 yards. The ball was going to be at the 1-yard line, but instead it’s a touchback.
Steelers 30, Buccaneers 27, 5:43, 4Q: So instead of a punt return touchdown, the Bucs start on their own 8-yard line. He finds Howard for 2 yards, then 21 yards. On first down, he hits Jackson for 12 yards. After throwing incomplete, Fitzpatrick rushes for 17 yards. Incomplete, then Howard again for a big gain, this one for 16 yards. Fitzpatrick throws another incomplete, then finds Evans in the end zone for a 24-yard touchdown pass. The extra point is good.
Steelers 30, Buccaneers 20, 9:04, 4Q: Pittsburgh takes over on their own 25-yard line. McDonald gets 11 yards and a first down. Conner loses a yard and Roethlisberger throws incomplete, setting up a 3rd-and-11. Roethlisberger is pressured, and throws incomplete, forcing a punt. Jackson takes the punt for an 83-yard touchdown! But there’s a flag … holding on the receiving team. So it comes back. A huge opportunity lost for the Buccaneers.
Steelers 30, Buccaneers 20, 11:06, 4Q: Fitzpatrick is incomplete on first down, but he finds Jackson for a 17-yard pickup. The Bucs lose 15 yards for a chop block on the next play. Fitzpatrick finds Wilson for 4 yards, and the third quarter comes to an end. Fitzpatrick hits Humpries for 8 yards, then Rodgers for 7 yards into Pittsburgh territory. Steelers take a timeout. The Buccaneers go for it on fourth down, and Brate picks up 9 yards and the first. He then hits Rodgers for an 11-yard gain, and it’s a 1st-and-goal from the 6-yard line. Fitzpatrick picks up 2 yards, then throws incomplete on second down. On third, he finds Godwin for a 4-yard touchdown!
Steelers 30, Buccaneers 13, 1:06, 3Q: Conner picks up 7 yards from the Steelers 25-yard line. Then it’s a 4-yard pickup for Smith-Schuster. They lose 3 yards on a run from Conner, then Roethlisberger finds Smith-Schuster for 15 and then 6 yards. On 3rd-and-4, he finds Washington for a 12-yard pickup. Two more short plays, and another third down is up for the Steelers. It’s nearly disastrous, as Roethlisberger fumbles it, but Pittsburgh recovers it. They go for the 47-yard field goal, but Boswell misses off the upright!
Steelers 30, Buccaneers 13, 7:10, 3Q: Tampa Bay receives the second half kickoff, and takes over on its own 25-yard line. Barber picks up 3 yards on first down, then Fitzpatrick finds Jackson for 8 yards and a first down. On first down, Fitzpatrick hits Evans for a 14-yard pickup to midfield. False start on the next play, so they back up to the 45-yard line. And then another false start, so back to the 40. Fitzpatrick scrambles for a 4-yard pickup on 1st-and-20. Then he finds Godwin over the middle for a modest gain — but Godwin wasn’t touched when he went down for the catch! So he gets up and runs it all the way in for a 56-yard touchdown! They are reviewing the call, and they reverse it, but don’t explain why. So instead of a touchdown, it’s a 19-yard gain for Tampa Bay. Barber gets no yards on first down, and then Fitzpatrick is sacked for a big loss. It’s a 3rd-and-18, and Fitzpatrick dumps it to Godwin for a short throw, but the receiver turns it into a 20-yard gain and a first down. Barber gets 4 yards on the ground, then Humphries picks up 16 yards on a pass. Barber picks up a few yards, but the Bucs are called for illegal shift. First down and goal, and Fitzpatrick is sacked once again for a loss of 4 yards. They pick up five yards, but Fitzpatrick throws incomplete, so they’ll settle for a field goal attempt. The 28-yarder is good.
Steelers 30, Buccaneers 10, END 2Q: So … Buccaneers ball. On first down, Fitzpatrick picks up 7 yards with a pass to Evans, and yet another roughing the passer call comes in, on Pittsburgh. On 1st-and-10 from the Tampa Bay 44, Fitzpatrick finds Evans for a huge 51-yard gain well into Steelers territory! That takes us to the two-minute warning. Barber picks up 2 yards on the ground, then it’s incomplete on 2nd down. He finds Godwin in the end zone, but it’s dropped! The Buccaneers will settle for a 21-yard field goal. The kickoff goes for a touchback, so there’s 1:15 left in the half. Brown picks up 6 yards on a pass. Then Roethlisberger hits Conner for an 18-yard pickup, and they take their first timeout. Brown gets 9 yards on the sideline, and the Buccaneers spend a timeout of their own. Then it’s Smith-Schuster for a short gain, and he gets out of bounds with 34 seconds remaining. They’re into Tampa Bay territory. Big Ben finds Washington, Conner and Smith-Schuster on short passes, and they’re just a couple yards out. They throw a quick slant to Brown, and pass interference is called on the Bucs, setting up the Steelers with a 1st-and-goal from the 1-yard line. And it’s a touchdown to Switzer! The extra point is good.
Steelers 23, Buccaneers 7, 2:50, 2Q: After the Buccaneers turnover, the Steelers got the ball, but couldn’t do anything with it, quickly punting it away. But it pinned the Bucs at the 2-yard line. Rodgers picks up nothing on first down, and then on second Dupree picks off Fitzpatrick and runs it into the end zone! Wow! This is getting out of hand! The extra point is good.
Steelers 16, Buccaneers 7, 5:45, 2Q: Conner picks up 2 yards, then the Bucs are called for roughing the passer — a VERY questionable call as Pierre-Paul’s hand simply touched the helmet of Roethlisberger. But they get some valuable yardage out of it. Roethlisberger then hits Smith-Schuster for 4 yards, and throws incomplete on second down. On third down, he throws it to Brown, but it doesn’t pick up any yards, and the Steelers will punt. Tampa Bay takes over at their own 25-yard line. Fitzpatrick’s first-down pass is batted away, but it’s yet another roughing the passer penalty, this time on Pittsburgh. On the ensuing first down, Fitzpatrick is picked off AGAIN.
Steelers 16, Buccaneers 7, 8:04, 2Q: Tampa Bay takes over on their own 30-yard line. Evans picks up 27 yards through the air, then Pittsburgh is called for unnecessary roughness, giving them the ball at the Steelers’ 28-yard line. Barber picks up a yard, but offensive holding is called. On 1st-and-20, Fitzpatrick misses Howard deep. On second down, he goes to Humphries for a short gain. On 3rd-and-14, he finds Godwin for 20 yards to extend the drive. Fitzpatrick throws incomplete, and then on second down, the pass is tipped, and the Steelers get it! It’s another turnover!
Steelers 16, Buccaneers 7, 10:33, 2Q: The Buccaneers take over on their own 24-yard line and after losing a yard, Fitzpatrick finds Godwin for a 12-yard gain, but he fumbles! The ball is out and recovered by the Steelers! Pittsburgh takes over at the Tampa Bay 33-yard line. They get 6 yards from Conner, then Roethlisberger hits Brown for a 27-yard touchdown! This time the extra point is good, and the Steelers build on their lead.
Steelers 9, Buccaneers 7, 12:14, 2Q: Conner picks up 5 yards as the Steelers start from their own 8-yard line. Then they lose those yards on a false start. Roethlisberger then hits Smith-Schuster for a 44-yard gain, and they tack on more when McCoy is called for roughing the passer. So the Steelers are now working from Tampa Bay territory. Ridley picks up 6 yards, and then 3 more yards, so it will be a 3rd-and-1, but the end of the first quarter is here. When the second starts, Conner picks up the first down, but the offense is called for holding. So it’s a 3rd-and-11. And they get it, when Roethlisberger hits McDonald for a 12-yard gain. He throws incomplete deep, and Johnson is shaken up for the Bucs — he ran into the wall tracking the ball. On second down, they lose 3 on a dumpoff. They pick up 6 yards on third down, and then take the lead when Boswell connects on the 38-yard field goal.
Buccaneers 7, Steelers 6, 2:10, 1Q: The Bucs take over on their own 17-yard line, and Fitzpatrick picks up 5 yards on a scramble. Bostic is called for unnecessary roughness, so the Bucs get even more space. Humphries gets 4 yards, then Fitzpatrick hits Howard for a 9-yard pickup. The Steelers have a hands-to-the-face penalty, but it’s declined after a 21-yard pickup by Brate. They’re well into Pittsburgh territory here. Barber gets 2 yards, then Fitzpatrick throws incomplete — it’s a 3rd-and-8. Fitzpatrick is sacked for a loss of 9 yards, so they’re going to punt as opposed to a field goal.
Buccaneers 7, Steelers 6, 5:46, 1Q: After the Buccaneers touchdown, the Steelers took over on their own 25-yard line. Conner loses 4 yards, then Brown gets them back on a short pass. On 3rd-and-10, Roethlisberger finds McDonald for a 75-yard touchdown! Boswell misses the extra point, so it’s still a lead for the Bucs!
Buccaneers 7, Steelers 0, 7:21, 1Q: The Steelers get the ball back, but Roethlisberger is quickly intercepted! The Buccaneers take over near midfield, and they’re quickly into Pittsburgh territory after a Fitzpatrick pass to Howard for 13 yards. Eventually, Fitzpatrick finds Brate for a 4-yard touchdown and an early Buccaneers lead!
Steelers 0, Buccaneers 0, 11:52, 1Q: The Buccaneers kick off to start, and after a Pittsburgh penalty on the return, they’ll start from their own 10-yard line. Roethlisberger throws a short pass to Switzer, then Conner loses a yard on a run. Brown can only pick up 4 yards, and it’s a quick 3-and-out for the Steelers. Tampa Bay takes over on their own 41-yard line. They pick up 2 yards, then an incomplete pass sets up a 3rd-and-8. Fitzpatrick throws a good pass, but Godwin drops it. So the teams exchange 3-and-outs.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will try and make it a perfect 3-0 start when they play host to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football for Week 3. The game is set for 8:15 p.m. ET on ESPN (live streaming via WatchESPN).
Tampa Bay has so far looked great in both its wins, over the New Orleans Saints in Week 1 and the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been the starting quarterback for the Buccaneers, in place of the suspended Jameis Winston, but his play has been fantastic. He’s completed 78.7 percent of his passes for 819 yards, 8 touchdowns and just 1 interception.
Below is all you need to know to watch the action on Monday.
- Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
- Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla.
- TV: ESPN
- Streaming: WatchESPN
- Odds: The Steelers opened as 2.5-point favorites over the Buccaneers, but the line has shrunk, and is even on some books.
- After two games without star running back Le’Veon Bell, the Steelers are now reportedly listening to trade offers for him.
- If the Steelers really feel like they are okay with trading Bell, they should also be realistic about the price tag. Bell is a great talent, but any team trading for him is also going to be absorbing a big one-year contract and the task of signing Bell to a lengthy extension.
- Pittsburgh has some concerns on the injury front, with all of David DeCastro, Marcus Gilbert and Morgan Burnett listed as doubtful vs. the Buccaneers.
- For the Bucs, they have listed Beau Allen, Vita Vea and Marcus Williams as out for the game, with defensive backs Chris Conte and Brent Grimes listed as questionable.
- Fitzpatrick is playing so well for Tampa Bay that he will remain the starter when Winston’s suspension ends.
- The folks over at Bucs Nation also took a look at the top five Monday Night Football moments in Bucs history. They also have five keys to victory.
- In a similar vein, the folks over at Behind the Steel Curtain feel that Pittsburgh is a team that should win games like Monday’s. They also have three Steelers who need to have a big game to win, and some bold predictions.
Of the seven experts picking Week 3 games for SB Nation, five of them are going with the Buccaneers, leaving two picking Pittsburgh. Both the OddsShark computer and the coin flip are picking the Bucs.