Mitch Trubisky Says Mike Tomlin Emphasized Fast Start: ‘The Plan Was Executed’

The Pittsburgh Steelers scored touchdowns on their first two drives since Week 7 of 2020 as they took an early 14-7 lead on the Carolina Panthers and would eventually pull out a 24-16 win to move to 6-8 on the season. With Kenny Pickett still in concussion protocol, quarterback Mitch Trubisky started for the Steelers and in his postgame press conference, he talked about the importance of the early scoring drives.

“It was huge. Coach T made an emphasis, we gotta start fast this game because we know what they have on the other side with their run game as well. So we wanted our run game to start faster, and we wanted to start the game coming out front. So scoring first drive we had the football, that was definitely huge. And then we get the ball at halftime and we do that 21-play drive. So we wanted to start fast, we wanted to stay ahead the whole game. The plan was executed,” Trubisky said via the team’s YouTube channel.

The Steelers led wire-to-wire, and that allowed them to play the game at their pace. Against the Ravens, they trailed early which forced them to go to the air and they could never really establish the run game. Today, they were able to establish the run early and get on the board early which kept them in control of the game. From a time of possession perspective, the Steelers held the ball for 36:11 compared to 23:49 from Carolina. The Steelers were able to run the ball 45 times (including 24 times for 86 yards and a score from Najee Harris), and they didn’t turn the ball over.

It wasn’t a super impressive offensive performance out of the Steelers, but it got the job done. Scoring early and possessing the ball on long drives, including the 21-play drive coming out of the half that took over 11 minutes off the clock helped give the defense a breather and allowed them to take away Carolina’s rushing attack while also having their best game rushing the passer since Week 1.

Pittsburgh’s success establishing the run early also led to them having success on third downs, as they were often facing third-and-short due to their success on the ground in early downs. Even when they were put in 3rd-and-long situations, the Steelers did a good job converting as Trubisky often looked the way of wide receiver Diontae Johnson, who had his best game of the season with 10 catches for 98 yards.

It’s rare we see the Steelers start as fast as they did against Carolina, but when they do, good things tend to happen. The fast start was able to open up the offense and let the defense play their game without as much pressure, and both units played a big part in the win today. Going forward, let’s see if the offense can keep the momentum as the Steelers try to claw their way into one of the AFC’s final playoff spots.

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