Mitch Trubisky Addresses Need To Improve On Third Down: ‘We’re Looking To Get Better’

If you watched the Steelers’ thrilling overtime victory against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, you likely saw a defense that played out of its mind for much of the game and an offense that continued to underwhelm like in recent seasons.

The Steelers scored 23 points in the overtime win, but the offense only accounted for one TD. The other TD came by a pick-six made by Minkah Fitzpatrick early in the first quarter and three made field goals by Chris Boswell, including the game-winner.

QB Mitch Trubisky knows that there is a lot to improve on coming out of Sunday’s game, specifically on third down.

“We’re looking to get better,” Trubisky said to the media Wednesday on video from the team website at “We won the game, but there is a lot that we can improve on, specifically third down and just overall execution. I like the calls that we were given. We just got to go out and execute more to stay on the field and keep our defense off the field. So, we’re looking at being better on third down this week.”

Pittsburgh converted 4-of-15 third down attempts Sunday against the Bengals, coming out to just over a 26% conversion rate. That conversion rate is brutal given the number of opportunities the defense gave the offense in terms of five turnovers that gifted the offense with the ball and good field position. Despite winning the turnover battle 5-0, the offense struggled throughout the start of the game and during the second half at establishing drives and getting the ball in the end zone, settling for field goal attempts that kept the Bengals in the game.

Not only did the offense’s inefficiencies affect it and its ability to put points on the board, but the defense also got thrown out there more often as they would go three-and-out, making the defense play more snaps and possessions against a high-powered offense in Cincinnati.

The defense ended up playing 94 snaps against the Bengals, the most snaps it has seen in some time. While they may have bent a little in the second half in terms of allowing longer drives and points on the board, the defense did their part by holding the Bengals to 20 points when considering how much they were on the field in this game. The Bengals held the ball for 46:43 compared to Pittsburgh, who had the ball for 26:17 when accounting for overtime.

While Trubisky did what he needed to do at the end of the game to get Pittsburgh in scoring position for the walk-off Chris Boswell field goal, he and the rest of the offense need to be more efficient in the coming weeks. In the NFL, you can’t bank on your defense getting seven sacks and five turnovers every single week, especially now that T.J. Watt will miss some time. Therefore, the offense needs to take a step forward in terms of establishing drives by having more of a presence up front in the running game as well as Trubisky converting third down pass attempts to keep the offense on schedule and put points on the board while giving the defense a much-needed breather.

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