Mitch Trubisky was the Pittsburgh Steelers’ starting quarterback at the beginning of the season, in case you forgot. He started the first four games until head coach Mike Tomlin pulled him at halftime in Week 4, saying after the game that he felt they needed a spark—and shiny new rookie first-round pick Kenny Pickett was their spark.
It took a while for them to really ignite, but they were 3-1 coming out of the bye up until yesterday’s game. We don’t know how things might have played out otherwise, but Pickett was knocked out of the game two drives in, suffering a concussion on the third play of the game (though not diagnosed until he went back in and played another series).
Trubisky stepped in and played the rest of the way, moving the ball well, but sometimes too well to the point where the Baltimore Ravens were even catching his passes. Three of them in all, unfortunately, but the locker room still believes in him.
“We had some chunk plays from Mitch,” starting center Mason Cole said after the game via the team’s website. “We knew what we were getting in Mitch. We played with him before, as a starter, in a similar situation coming in early in the game. We just didn’t get it done today.”
Part of not getting it done was Trubisky’s three interceptions, twice forced into tight coverage over the middle of the field looking for tight end Pat Freiermuth. The third was an overthrow on a go ball to wide receiver Diontae Johnson on which the QB said he believes he didn’t hold off safety Marcus Williams.
While the offense was shooting itself in the foot with turnovers, the defense didn’t feel added pressure with the change from Pickett, or at least so says safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, who sealed last week’s win with his fourth interception of the year.
“It’s not too much. We’ve still got to do our job,” he said about the pressure of the defense when the starting quarterback exits. “Mitch is a great quarterback. We have faith in him. Not too much changes in our approach, in our gameplan. Honestly, our approach is just to get the ball to him as much as we can.”
Unfortunately, they failed to get Trubisky any extra possessions in this one after having recorded seven takeaways in the four previous games. The Steelers had a plus-seven turnover differential during that four-game run, but were minus-three yesterday. They are 0-8 when they lose the turnover differential this year. Not great, but that’s generally how it goes when you don’t get as much as you give.