The Pittsburgh Steelers capped off the preseason with a 19-9 preseason win over the Detroit Lions Sunday evening, finishing a perfect 3-0 in exhibition play before the start of the regular season. The QB competition has been the talk of training camp and the preseason for the Pittsburgh Steelers as Mitch Trubisky, Kenny Pickett, and Mason Rudolph all competed for the starting job.
Trubisky was given the entire first half with the first-string offense to show what he could do in Pittsburgh’s dress rehearsal prior to the start of the regular season and capitalized on the opportunity. He went 15/19 (79%) for 160 yards and a TD in the first half of play, showcasing good decision making by getting the ball out quick near the LOS while also taking several shots down the field.
However, what stuck out most from Trubisky’s performance was his execution of the two-minute offense right before halftime. Pittsburgh started with the ball on their own eight-yard line with 1:34 left on the clock in the second quarter. Trubisky starts off the drive taking what the defense gives him while playing in soft zone coverage, checking it down to #82 Steven Sims who catches the ball on the curl concept then turns up field for a pickup on nine yards.
After a pass interference penalty against the defense, Trubisky again checks down short to #88 Pat Freiermuth in the flat on the right side of the field, hitting the TE as he looks to turn up field, but is unable to shake the tackle attempt before the defense rallies, finishing with an eight-yard gain.
The very next play, Trubisky takes a deep shot to George Pickens which falls incomplete, but RT Chukwuma Okorafor gets called for holding, backing up the offense ten yards. However, Trubisky is able to keep the offense going after the setback, finding TE #83 Connor Heyward on a cross over the middle for a six-yard gain to cut the distance to go for the first down in half.
The offense goes no-huddle as the team quickly gets to the ball and gets the snap off. Trubisky then takes a shot down the left sideline to #14 George Pickens who comes down with the catch on the back shoulder fade in-bounds inside Lion territory, putting Pittsburgh in field goal range.
Trubisky follows up his 22-yard completion to Pickens with an even more impressive 32-yard completion down the seam to Freiermuth, firing the ball to the TE’s outside shoulder as he shows great body control to make the catch in-stride as he gets wrapped up by two Lions defenders and brought down inside the Detroit ten.
Here is another view of the play to Freiermuth, showcasing Trubisky’s awareness to put the ball away from LB #55 Derrick Barnes in coverage to the place where only Freiermuth has a chance to make the catch. We also see Freiermuth’s concentration and adjustment on the football in the air to reel in the explosive play in the middle of the field to put Pittsburgh in range for an end zone strike
Pittsburgh takes a strike to the end zone the very next play with 16 second left on the clock as Trubisky takes the snap from the shotgun and looks for Steven Sims running the slant patten over the middle, putting the pass out in-front as Sims makes the catch in the end zone for the six-yard TD.
Trubisky drove Pittsburgh 92 yards in six plays, using 1:17 of clock to put the ball in the end zone with 14 seconds to go. It was a great display of leadership and poise from Trubisky who was able to attack all quadrants of the football field as he went the full 92 yards. We saw him take what the defense gave him on the short and intermediate routes, but also saw him attack down the field, having trust in George Pickens and Pat Freiermuth in one-on-one situations for them to make a play.
Trubisky has long been believed to be the favorite to be Pittsburgh’s starting QB Week 1 against the Cincinnati Bengals as the veteran has remained atop the depth chart since he arrived to the team this spring. HC Mike Tomlin stated that he wanted to see Trubisky work in a high-pressure situation like the one he faced Sunday, and he delivered.
Kenny Pickett and Mason Rudolph also had strong performances against the Lions, but given the fact that Trubisky was given the entire first half with the first team offense and he successfully completed the long drive down the field for the score before halftime, it’s reasonable to suggest that he will be Pittsburgh’s starting QB to open the 2022 regular season.
What are your thoughts on Mitch Trubisky and his drive to close out the half? Do you think he showed he has what it takes to be Pittsburgh’s starting QB? Do you think he wins the job? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below and thanks again for reading!