The Steelers were dominant all day, defeating Tampa Bay 38-13 to improve their record to 3-0 and handing the Bucs their first loss of the season, dropping to 2-1.
“You really have to tip a hat to Charlie Batch for what he was able to do for us today,” said Coach Mike Tomlin. “He played like a veteran. This guy hasn’t had many opportunities not only in recent years, but in recent days, weeks and months. He didn’t blink. He’s been a consummate professional and team players. Good things usually happen for those kinds of people. A lot of congratulations to go around. Just a total team effort and one I am excited for the men in that locker room.”
The defense stymied Tampa’s offense, holding them to just one touchdown that came with only 1:54 on the clock and the game already decided.
The Steelers got off to a rough start on offense when on the second play from scrimmage Batch was intercepted by Aqib Talib at the Steelers 31-yard line.
The defense limited the damage, though. Cadillac Williams was held to one-yard up the middle and Josh Freeman hit Mike Williams for six yards. On third-and-three
Batch completed a six-yard pass to
Another defensive stand gave the Steelers the ball back in good field position at the Tampa 45-yard line. And they took advantage of it. After a double-reverse ended in a one-yard loss, the Steelers went for broke. Wallace beat the coverage and Batch fired a 46-yard touchdown pass to give the Steelers a 7-3 lead.
The Bucs got going on offense on their next drive. Cadillac Williams went off left end for 16 yards and Freeman hit Mike Williams for 16 yards. LeGarrette Blount powered ahead for 12 yards and Freeman went to Cadillac Williams for an 11-yard completion. After two short carries by Blount, Freeman scrambled around left end for an 11-yard gain to move the chains. Blount picked up eight more yards and Freeman hit Kellen Winslow for 13 yards to the seven-yard line. Freeman lost his footing for a three-yard loss. The defense stepped up once again, keeping the Bucs out of the end zone and bringing on Barth for a 24-yard field goal to cut the lead to 7-6.
Mendenhall got the call to carry the load on the next series, rattling off a 15-yard carry. He added a four-yard carry, but was stopped for no gain. On third down Batch was forced to scramble and saw nothing but daylight, taking it 24 yards to the 24-yard line. Batch went back to the air, hitting
An opportunistic defense came though once again for the Steelers. Mike Williams was spun around by
For the second time in the game Batch aired it out for Wallace, who came through again. The ball went off the hands of the hands of Tailb, and Wallace never took his eyes off it, pulling in the 44-yard touchdown to extend the lead to 21-6, mid-way through the second quarter.
The defense came up with another stop and Batch and company went back to work. Mendenhall took it for 13 yards and
The defense came out of the locker room with the same intensity they had in the first half, forcing a three-and-out when Freeman was sacked by Gay for a seven-yard loss.
The Steelers lined up in the wildcat on their first drive of the second half, with Antwaan Randle El handing off to Mendenhall who took it off left guard for 17 yards. Mendenhall had a short gain, and after a loss the Steelers were faced with third-and-10. Batch hit
The Steelers defense came through once again, getting the ball back into the hands of the offense. Mendenhall went up the middle for five yards and Redman added on a four-yard carry. On third-and-one the line plowed forward, allowing Batch to gain two yards and keep the drive going. Mendenhall exploded behind his lead blocker, getting free and heading down the sideline for a 34-yard gain to the 14-yard line. Mendenhall added carries of three and five yards, but
Tampa was moving the ball on offense and in typical defensive fashion the Steelers came up with another huge play.
The Bucs continued to struggle on offense, and it was quickly back to work for the Steelers, controlling the clock on the ground. Mendenhall had a five and 10-yard carry and Redman added a nine and 16-yard carry. Mendenhall came back with an 18-yard carry to the Tampa 38-yard line. After two short gains, Batch made one of his few mistakes on the day when he was intercepted by Quincy Black.
Josh Johnson came in at quarterback for the Bucs and breathed some life into the offense, driving down for the Bucs only touchdown of the day when Blount scored from the one-yard line on fourth down.