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One that didn't get away

Closing the game they way they did against the Buccaneers meant more to the Steelers, potentially, than just winning the game.

Now that they've done it the way they intended, guard Kevin Dotson doesn't see any reason why it can't be done again as necessary.

"Way more confident," Dotson said, taking the temperature of the offense in general after the Steelers finished off last Sunday's 20-18 victory over Tampa Bay by possessing the ball for the final 4:38 of regulation.

"I feel good about anybody we go against now."

The Steelers had a chance to close out the Bengals in the regular-season opener on Sept. 11 in Cincinnati after gaining possession with 1:51 left in the fourth quarter. But they punted it back with 1:36 remaining in regulation and ultimately had to win the game in overtime.

They were also chewing up yards with a lead as the fourth quarter was wining down on Oct. 2 against the Jets. But a drive that began with 7:31 to play ended on an interception with 3:34 left on the clock and a four-point lead was eventually ceded.

This time they left nothing to chance.

"Especially with Tom (Brady) on the other side, we couldn't play it safe," wide receiver Chase Claypool maintained.

That was understood and emphasized prior to the Steelers' game-sealing possession.

"It was discussed," guard James Daniels said. "You can never assume anything.

"Being able to end the game with the ball in our hands, that's very hard to do but that's how you win games."

New England won one against the Steelers by exhausting the final 6:33 off the clock while holding a three-point lead on Sept. 18.

The Steelers' final possession against Tampa Bay began with an emphatic 8-yard burst by running back Najee Harris.

An aborted snap resulted in a third-and-15, but the Steelers converted on a 17-yard completion from quarterback Mitch Trubisky to wide receiver Chase Claypool.

Another negative play resulted in a third-and-11 but the Steelers moved the chains again, this time on a 26-yard connection from Trubisky to Claypool.

Whatever it takes.

The objective next time will be to finish things off in a more traditional fashion, by either running a back or taking advantage of a quarterback's legs, as the Steelers did at the end against Tampa.

"The biggest thing was we got the win and we closed the game out in a four-minute situation, which was huge," center Mason Cole said. "But there's a lot more meat on the bone in the run game for us."

Take a look at the best black and white photos from the Week 6 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Acrisure Stadium

Harris finished with 42 yards on 14 carries (a 3.0 average) but he said he felt better after having removed the steel plate from his shoe he had been wearing to protect a foot injury.

His 8-yard, drive-starting carry was achieved by running through inside linebacker Lavonte David and safety Keanu Neal 2 yards past the line of scrimmage and then outside linebacker Joe Tryon-Shoyinka before eventually pushing a pile that included cornerback Carlton Davis III and outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett.

"Najee was running the ball hard," Cole said. "The first play, that four-minute drive, Najee just hit it hard and carried guys a few yards.

"That was good to see."

Added Dotson: "He was definitely a little more confident. You could see, you could feel him hitting the holes a little harder, going through with a little more confidence."