In what is the most surprising upset of the NFL year to date, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers traveled to Heinz Field and defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-24. The loss drops the Steelers to 2-2 and gives the Buccaneers their first win of the season.
After failing to convert a fourth and 10 from the Pittsburgh 14-yard line, the Buccaneers handed the ball back to the Steelers and the game looked to be over. However, the Tampa Bay defense was able to force a three-and-out and a bad punt gave Mike Glennon and the Tampa Bay offense the ball on the Pittsburgh 46-yard line with 40 seconds left. On the second play of the drive, Glennon found wide receiver Louis Murphy for a gain of 41. Two plays later Glennon hit wide receiver Vincent Jackson for a five-yard touchdown with seven seconds left to win the game.
Penalties undoubtably hurt the Steelers’ chances of winning today as they were called for 13 penalties totaling 125 yards. Of the 13 penalties, six were for 15 yards (three face masks and one each of taunting, unsportsmanlike conduct and unnecessary roughness). Penalties as a whole can hurt a team, but 15-yard penalties are killers––and Pittsburgh had six of them.
Performance of Note (Pittsburgh): Heath Miller
Both quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Antonio Brown had big games––as they usually do––but Miller’s performance stood out to me. On 11 targets he caught 10 passes for 85 yards and one touchdown. The one target that wasn’t caught was a drop that should have been easily caught. Offensive coordinator Todd Haley called multiple play-action passes to Miller with him running seam routes. Almost every time he was open and gained good yardage. His one drop also came on this play and he could have gained approximately 15 yards, putting him at 100 for the game. Tampa Bay kept biting on the play-action fake and left Miller open in the middle of the field on his seam routes. Roethlisberger and Haley took advantage of this all game long.
Performance of Note (Tampa Bay): Louis Murphy
Cut by the Buccaneers the day before they opened the season against the Carolina Panthers, Murphy only rejoined the Tampa Bay roster this week. Today, he led the Buccaneers in catches (six), receiving yards (99) and targets (11). He was one yard away from his third career 100-yard receiving game. His biggest catch came with 35 seconds left in the game when he beat his defender deep and caught a 41-yard pass from Glennon to bring the Buccaneers to the Pittsburgh five-yard line. Murphy must love to play at Heinz Field as his best game as a pro came as a rookie for the Oakland Raiders in 2009 at Pittsburgh. He caught four passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns. Both touchdowns came with less than six minutes left in the game and the second one gave Oakland the win with nine seconds left. The quarterback of that Oakland team? Bruce Gradkowski, the current Steelers backup.
Player of the Game: Mike Glennon, Buccaneers
Simple choice here as Glennon led an 0-3 team into Pittsburgh and came out with a victory. Only starting due to a thumb injury to Josh McCown, Glennon made the most of his opportunity completing 21-of-42 passes for 302 yards with two touchdowns, one interception and a quarterback rating of 79.7. While he wasn’t able to get the score on the Buccaneers first attempt to take the lead late in the fourth quarter, he was able to get a second chance and made the most of it. Down four points, with no timeouts and 46 yards needed for a touchdown, Glennon faced the Steelers defense and came away with the win.