At one point in Sunday’s 16-14 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, QB Mitch Trubisky had thrown four incompletions on 20 pass attempts. Typically, a completion percentage and chunk of a stat line you want to achieve. But it came with an asterisk and an even bigger cost. Three of those “incompletions” never hit the ground. Instead, they landed in the hands of awaiting Ravens’ defenders, Trubisky finishing the day with three critical turnovers.
Speaking to reporters after the game, Trubisky was asked about each of those moments. Starting with the first, picked off by LB Roquan Smith on a throw over the middle intended for TE Pat Freiermuth. The spacing on the play looked odd, Steven Sims underneath, leading to a jumbled mess of players between the hashes that resulted in the pick. Trubisky confirmed he was trying to throw it to Freiermuth, not Sims.
They did a good job collisioning Pat on the line of scrimmage, which made his route take a little longer. Um, I stuck with him, probably could have used a better, um, done a better drive with my eyes looking off. When it just takes a little longer, two guys in the same spot, um, I’ll have to look at it to see exactly what happened, but, uh, linebacker made a good play.”
Trubisky admitted he “probably forced that one.” It was the first of several failed red zone trips of the day.
Trubisky said it was a similar story on his second INT, right ahead of the red zone, thrown again over the middle for Freiermuth.
“Kind of forced that one. I think I was going to pat again down in the red zone. When linebackers was getting depth like that, there’s probably somebody open underneath.”
In a 13-7 game ahead of the half with Pittsburgh getting the ball to start the third quarter, three points would’ve been a good note to go out on. Steelers/Ravens games are always close, there hasn’t been one decided by more than one-possession since 2019, and Sunday was no different. Though it’s impossible to nearly map things out, an extra field goal in a two-point loss obviously looms large.
Trubisky’s third and final pick didn’t come in or near the red zone. A heave deep down the left sideline intended for Diontae Johnson, he threw into double coverage and was picked by S Marcus Williams, his first game back after missing half the season with a wrist injury.
“I wanted to take a shot down field to Diontae. I thought he did a good job take going inside. He was getting behind him and stacked him…I just threw it a little too far and I gotta be better with my eyes.”
Trubisky overshot Johnson by several yards and didn’t hold the FS Williams in the middle of the field, allowing him to make a play on the ball and pick it off. Though the Ravens were backed up deep in their territory, officials ruling the ball was down at the one, it was still more time off the clock and time spent with the Steelers’ offense on the sidelines. Baltimore comfortably won the time of possession battle by roughly five minutes, in part thanks to a nearly eight-minute drive late in the fourth quarter.
Trubisky and Pickett are now the only two quarterbacks this season to come off the bench and throw three interceptions. When the Steelers turn the ball over, they lose, and it was the driving reason behind Sunday’s defeat. No deep dive into X’s and O’s or coach-speak necessary. Pittsburgh may have looked better in recent weeks but their margin for error was narrow. And turnovers swung the result in the Steelers’ favor. Both teams will play on with a Week 17 rematch looming but only the Ravens have meaningful games left.