Chemistry apparent, shots taken and a TD for openers

TAMPA, Fla. _ After further review …

CHEMISTRY AS ANTICIPATED: Wide receiver Diontae Johnson may have been onto something we he maintained recently he'd have a better working relationship this season with quarterback Kenny Pickett, for a variety of reasons.

Pickett found Johnson three times on the Steelers' first-possession, 83-yard touchdown drive in Friday night's preseason-opening, 27-17 victory over the Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium.

"What we've been working on all training camp, we put it on display," Johnson said. "You could see the chemistry with me, Kenny, (wide receiver) Allen (Robinson), 'G.P.' (wide receiver George Pickens). Whoever it is you see the chemistry, you can tell we've been working.

"I think it's good Kenny has a year under his belt so he can play freely out there and more calm. He's able to see things now. The game is kinda slowing down for him."

Johnson's three receptions produced 32 yards and moved the chains on two occasions.

"The first play I was (the) primary (receiver)," Johnson said of an 8-yard catch on the Steelers' first offensive snap. "The rest was kinda him getting out of the pocket and just making a play. And me just being a football player and getting open for him and him just taking a shot."

Game action photos from the Week 1 preseason game at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium

ATTACK MODE: When quarterback Mitch Trubisky tried a deep shot down the sideline to wide receiver Cody White against 1-on-1 coverage early in the second quarter, the ball wound up being intercepted.

The Steelers were not deterred.

Quarterback Mason Rudolph took a deep shot to wide receiver Calvin Austin III under similar circumstances late in the second but was hit as he delivered and the pass fell incomplete.

Rudolph tried Austin again early in the third quarter and this time the Steelers benefitted from a 38-yard penalty for defensive pass interference.

The two finally hooked up as desired midway through the third. Austin ran by cornerback Don Gardner, Rudolph let it fly and a 67-yard, catch-and-run touchdown resulted.

"I tried to be as aggressive as possible," Rudolph said.

That's the way the Steelers intend to play it when 1-on-1 opportunities knock in matchups they deem favorable.

"It all depends on the guy (the receiver), depends on the coverage, the look," Pickett said. "Those guys (Trubisky and Rudolph) did a great job of taking advantage of what the defense was giving them.

"I think that's really what we want to do as an offense moving forward."

AS ADVERTISED, FINALLY: Austin at long last got a chance to put his speed on display in a game after missing all of last season due to injury. He had two receptions for 73 yards and carried twice for 23 yards.

"I like guys that can run, man," Pickett said. "He has speed. Seeing some different things that he did, in the Jet (Sweep) game and running downfield was awesome to see.

"Proud of Calvin, he's worked really hard to be here. Obviously, went out there and performed at a really high level. It's great to see."

BUSY NIGHT: No. 1 pick Broderick Jones entered the game at left offensive tackle on the Steelers' second series and was still there on the possession that began with 10:20 left in the fourth quarter.

Jones wound up playing 46 of the Steelers' 60 offensive snaps in his professional debut.

"Wish I got a couple plays back but for the most part, I enjoyed it," Jones assessed. "I feel like I was pretty solid, for the most part. We really don't have a lot of tight end help in our gameplan. You just have to play to the best of your ability.

"It was fun."

Take a look at the best photos from the Week 1 preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium

SPENCER FOR HIRE: Seventh-round offensive lineman Spencer Anderson played right guard, right tackle and left guard, and showed the type of versatility and position flexibility up front that had been an attention-getting element of his game of late in training camp practices at Saint Vincent College.

"It doesn't really matter to me," Anderson said. "As long as I'm on the field."

Anderson entered the game on the Steelers' final possession of the first half.

"The first couple snaps you kinda got the butterflies going," he said. "It's not like college, this is the pros now. Stuff I used to do didn't work.

"At the end of the day, it's all football. As long as I'm on my guy, doing my job, it's all football. I just try to have fun with it, try not take it too serious."

HE SAID IT: "It just feels good, right? To start on that note, it doesn't mean a whole lot right now. We weren't game-planning, we were just out there kind of playing ball. But it feels good to have success, really." _ Center Mason Cole on the Steelers' first-possession touchdown drive.