Home > Steeler Articles > Steelers-Buccaneers Recap, Week 3

Steelers-Buccaneers Recap, Week 3

The Steelers go into Tampa and manhandle the young Buccaneers with a business-like effort, winning the game easily, 38-13. The Steelers are now 3-0 and the future is looking bright.

– Things didn’t start off well for the Steelers. For some reason, Mewelde Moore returned the opening kickoff and only got it up to the 17. On the 2nd play of the game on a playaction rollout (nice call) Batch throws an INT on what looked like a mis-communication between him and Mike Wallace, where Wallace didn’t break off his route to where Batch threw the ball. It was 2nd and 7 and it was strange that there were no targets downfield less than 10 yards on the play, but so it goes with Arians calling the plays. The playcalling was somewhat predictable on the first couple series but Arians did a nice job of mixing things up after that.

– The defense also got off to a rocky start on some poor tackling and miscues throughout the first part of the 1st quarter, mostly on a long offensive drive by the Bucs that resulted in a FG. The defense looked like it was in a daze on that drive and showed none of the tenacity of the previous two games. The defense would play significantly better as the game went.

– Charlie Batch had maybe the game of his life considering his age, the amount of time he’s actually played in recent years and being on the road against a 2-0 team. Outside of the first INT, Batch showed real nice zip and accuracy on a number of throws, tied his career-high in TD’s in a game with 3 and also recorded his career-long run with a key 24 yard scamper on a big third down. It’s fair to say that Batch did get a little fortunate on both TD bombs to Wallace, where the Bucs DB’s had a clear play on the ball but couldn’t come up with it. But hey, sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good and that was the case on those two passes.

– Mike Wallace had a great 1st half, snagging two TD’s and 100 yards. The Steeler QB’s will have to throw it faster with this kid, he’s FAST and usually ends up waiting for the pass on deep throws. Ward had a nice solid game as did Heath Miller. Randel El finally made his presence felt after re-signing with the Steelers with a nice, tough grab on third down in the 1st half.

– The O-line had a solid overall game. They had some key blocks on a number of run plays but looked shaky at times in pass coverage against an athletic Bucs D-line. On a number of throws Batch showed surprising agility in moving out of the pocket and side-stepping would be tacklers while finding someone downfield. Pouncey had another really solid game and RG Doug Legursky looked really good filling in for the injured Trai Essex. He looks to be a definite improvement over Essex, it’ll be interesting to see what the coaches do when Essex comes back from injury.

– Rashard Mendenhall continues to impress, finishing the game with his 5th 100 yard rushing game of his short career and averaging over 7 yards a carry! I’ve said it before, when teams have to actually respect the pass (like the case was today) Mendy will have some big games this year. Isaac Redman did what a #2 RB should and picked up some nice yardage to compliment Mendenhall’s effort and averaged 5 yards a carry good for 31 yards. He did seem to hesitate a little on a 4th and short carry where he was stood up short of the first down marker. But overall, nice game.

– The Steelers defensive front seven had another strong showing in getting pressure on Bucs QB Josh Freeman. There was some sloppy tackling and too much standing around in the 1st quarter but things tightened up as the game progressed. There were a number of 5+ yard run plays (runs of 12, 11, 9, 8 and 7) allowed which is uncharacteristic of this Steeler defense. Although, Cadillac Williams was held to just 13 yards. Lawrence Timmons once again led the team in tackles, that’s a great sign that this kid has finally arrived. Somehow Larry Foote had 4 tackles and an assist, I honestly didn’t even notice him out there. Farrior had a quiet game. Aaron Smith had a strong game. Harrison didn’t get a sack but did get some nice pressure on Freeman. Woodley was fairly quiet and missed some plays in the run game. The rookie LB’s (Stevenson Sylvester, Jason Worilds) got some playing time and looked impressive in limited time. Worilds actually nabbed a sack.

– The secondary had a fairly quiet but effective game. There were a couple plays where the CB’s gave up too much room to the WR’s allowing easy completions for the Bucs but overall they did their job. Willie Gay continues to impress as the nickel back and really stood out among DB’s today. Not only did he get a sack on Freeman on third down, showing some great hustle and speed, he also made a great tackle on an early key third down and short play on the Bucs first possession already in Steeler territory due to Batch’s INT. Troy had a couple real nice plays in run support but was somewhat quiet for Troy standards. Still a good game. Ryan Clark continues to be “Mr. Invisible” unless he’s missing a tackle in the open field on a WR. He did recover a fumble that bounced literally right into his bread basket. It was nice to see Will Allen get some playing time at safety. Hopefully, that is something we’ll see more of as the season progresses.

– The special teams had their usual long return allowed (which occured on the opening kickoff of the 2nd half) but overall had a decent game by Steeler ST standards. Jeff Reed actually had another touchback and two kicks went into the endzone. Keep it up, Jeff. Tomlin continued to play it extremely safe with little chance of reward with veteran returners Randel El and Moore returning punts and kicks.

– Overall, the coaches did their best job collectively of the season. Arians actually called a good game, mixing it up nicely on early downs with pass and run. It was questioned on here whether the Steelers were playing it overly safe and conservative on offense, well, that wasn’t the case today! It’s hard to be critical on such a lopsided win as today but it could be argued that it’s questionable to ask someone like Charlie Batch, who’s arm strength at this point isn’t the strongest, to throw deep. Both deep passes, which hung in the air and were almost underthrown, could’ve easily been intercepted, but sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. Give Tomlin credit for taking the shackles off the offense and going for the jugular in this game. Hopefully we’ll see more of that this season and less last-minute heart attacks waiting to happen. The fact that the Steelers were successful with Batch throwing it and that when Dixon was starting the gameplan was ultra-conservative, it makes one wonder why Batch wasn’t starting to begin with when Leftwich went down with his injury. Lebeau had another good gameplan, although the defense looked like it wasn’t focused early on it the game. That was corrected, however. Overall, GREAT win for the Steelers. Everyone did their job for the most part and we see the result, a lopsided 38-13 win in Tampa. It looks like the sky is the limit at this point with this team.

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