Steelers News

‘I Know What I Can Do In This League’: Vindication Not In Trubisky’s Vocabulary After Bounceback Game

Yesterday’s win over the Carolina Panthers was quarterback Mitch Trubisky’s first start since Week 4 when he was benched at halftime in favor of rookie first-round draft pick Kenny Pickett. But it was also his first action since just last week when his three costly interceptions essentially lost the game for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

While he didn’t throw a touchdown pass (he did run for one), however, he was very much a part of their winning efforts in Charlotte, a 24-16 victory that keeps their faint postseason hopes alive for at least another week.

With Pickett still in the concussion protocol, the Steelers had Mason Rudolph up and throwing in practice this past week, and head coach Mike Tomlin didn’t even announce who would start until Saturday. Trubisky insisted as recently as Friday that he wasn’t told anything.

But after the game, he wasn’t interested in talking about vindication or redemption. It was just another day at the office doing what he expects to do whenever he has the opportunity to step foot on a football field and play.

“I know what I can do in this league,” he said via the team’s website after the game when he was asked if he felt that feeling of vindication. “Moreso it feels good to be able to get this opportunity and then come through, have my teammates trust in me. We just had a plan and we executed it.”

While the Steelers leaned pretty heavily on the run game—running back Najee Harris alone had more rushing attempts than Trubisky had passing attempts—the passing game was efficient coming off of his arm. He completed 17 of 22 pass attempts for 179 yards without turning the ball over, landing one deep shot for 38 yards to George Pickens.

But it was Diontae Johnson who made up the bulk of his workload, catching all 10 targets for 98 yards, many of which came on third down and moved the chains. The Steelers converted 12 times on 16 third-down opportunities.

There was a report prior to yesterday’s game that Trubisky could be on a short leash and would be pulled in favor of Rudolph if he struggled. That never even became a variable after he led the Steelers to touchdowns on each of their first two drives. The defense never set foot on the field trailing.

Pickett remains in the concussion protocol, and it’s not guaranteed that he will be cleared this week. In the unfortunate event that he was forced to miss another game due to this issue, though, I think we can safely assume who would be starting.

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