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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Pickett shines as Steelers top Buccaneers in preseason clash

Pickett shines as Steelers top Buccaneers in preseason clash

Publish Date: 08/13/2023
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster

On Saturday, the Pittsburgh Steelers outshined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a 27-17 victory during their preseason opener. Star quarterback Kenny Pickett’s strong connection with his young WRs mirrored the Steelers’ successful training camp. The chemistry is proven true when Pickett and George Pickens secure the game’s opening touchdown during the starting offense’s sole series.

Other camp highlights were evident as well. Mason Rudolph’s throw found Calvin Austin III for a 67-yard touchdown, affirming Austin’s impressive summer. Meanwhile, rookie Nick Herbig excelled with 1.5 sacks in the Steelers’ defense, complemented by Kwon Alexander’s impactful hits following his recent free-agent signing.

On the other side of the field, the Buccaneers’ spotlight centered on the Baker Mayfield vs. Kyle Trask positional contest. Starting the game, Mayfield completed eight of nine passes for 63 yards, including a skillful touchdown throw to rookie Trey Palmer. In contrast, Trask struggled, going 6-of-10 for 99 yards with an interception and enduring three sacks.

Although Mayfield displayed a solid performance, he skipped a wide-open teammate downfield, opting for a check-off pass to running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn, who subsequently met with a punishing hit from Alexander.

Steelers’ training camp paid off

During Friday night’s sole drive, the Steelers’ offense, which has generated excitement in training camp, showcased its prowess. Pickett, who exhibited progress after an impressive rookie season with four game-winning drives, orchestrated an 83-yard, 10-play march in just over five minutes.

Pickett demonstrated his accuracy, completing six out of seven throws for 70 yards. Diontae Johnson emerged as his go-to wide receiver, snaring three passes for 32 yards. Pickett’s precision extended beyond the pocket as he adeptly connected while on the move.

Other noteworthy training camp standouts, tight ends Connor Heyward and Anthony McFarland, also made their presence felt. Heyward’s 24-yard reception positioned the Steelers for a late first-half score. McFarland’s speed was on full display during a 14-yard touchdown gallop, propelling Pittsburgh to a 14-7 advantage in the second quarter.

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