PITTSBURGH — After the Steelers scored just 17 points off five turnovers in the wild overtime win against the Bengals in Week 1, quarterback Mitch Trubisky said Wednesday that he and his unit need to be more aggressive.
“When your defense plays that well, and they get turnovers, you just want to run the football, but we have to have that killer mentality, that aggressive mentality to really take teams out of the game and just. not allow them to keep it close,” Trubisky said.
With Minkah Fitzpatrick‘s game-opening pick-six accounting for one score, the Steelers’ offense only added 10 points off turnovers thanks to a field goal and a touchdown. The rest of those possessions ended up in canoes.
“When our defense gets turnovers, we have to make those points,” Trubisky said. “That’s my mindset. And that’s what we think about when we get the ball taken away, we’ve got to turn it into touchdowns and not just field goals.”
The Steelers offense didn’t commit any turnovers in the overtime win, but playing conservatively, they didn’t take many field goals. That was by design, Tomlin said.
“With downfield pitching comes the potential for negativity and turning the ball over,” he said.
“Intermediately, in the structure of how they operate, we did what we thought was appropriate to win the game last week. It doesn’t affect how we operate this week.”
Trubisky connected on just 2 of 7 attempts of more than 20 yards, and according to Next Gen Stats, 10.5% of Trubisky’s attempts traveled more than 20 air yards. On the day, Trubisky was 21-of-38 for 194 yards and a touchdown. Two of his longest completions came in overtime: a 26-yard pass to Pat Freiermuth on a broken play and a one-handed catch past Diontae Johnson for a 25-yard gain. Although he had previously missed other pitches, including a deep shot to George PickensTrubisky’s ability to connect with his receivers stemmed from his veteran experience in crunch time.
“I’ve been in overtime situations before, and we were just fortunate to get the ball back,” Trubisky said. “For our defense to get a lot of great stops and have the opportunity to come down and lay [Chris Boswell] in another situation, give them the game-winning field goal. It was exciting, and it was a lot of fun. I think the experience definitely paid off.”
While his coach tried to be conservative to limit turnover potential, Trubisky didn’t feel like he held back in the ground attack.
“I think we took a good amount of deep balls in the last game,” Trubisky said. “We just have to hit them. And I think if you hit them earlier, then that opens up the medium and short stuff as well.
“You want to connect to those and then either they open up more of those or it opens up other routes and it opens up the run game as well. Once you hit those, I think you really see where you’re at, and what. else opens up within your offense.”
To increase accuracy on the deep balls and improve their third-down results — the Steelers were just 4-of-15 on third down — Trubisky cited a need for improvement in his timing.
“I think timing … from my perspective can be better — either getting it out a little earlier or waiting for the plays to develop a little more, just to a lot of guys to be in the right place at the right time,” he said . “But, overall we just need to execute and make the plays.”