The Steelers were able to beat the Bengals 23-20 in overtime in their season opener, but the game was a lot closer than one might expect given how the Steelers played on defense.
They forced five Joe Burrow turnovers with safety Minkah Fitzpatrick returning one of them for a touchdown and the offense turning the next two into 10 points that staked them to a 17-3 lead over their division rivals. The next two turnovers were followed by quick punts, however, and the Steelers gained just 64 yards in the second half of the game. That inability to put the Bengals away would have cost them the game if Fitzpatrick had not blocked an extra point at the end of regulation.
On Wednesday, quarterback Mitch Trubisky said he was happy that the Steelers avoided the giveaways that plagued the Bengals while saying that the Steelers offense has to do more to take advantage of opportunities that come their way.
“I think it was just something that progressed throughout the game,” Trubisky said, via Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “When the defense is playing that well and they’re getting turnovers, you just want to take care of the football. But we have to have that killer mindset, an aggressive mentality to take teams out of the game and not allow them to keep it close. I was proud of the way we took care of the football, but you have to have that aggressive mentality to score points. It’s not just the calls. It has to be everybody on the field having the same mindset.”
With a new quarterback and an early lead, the conservative approach was an understandable one for the Steelers even if it almost wound up biting them in the rear end. Sunday’s game against the Patriots will be the first chance to see if the Steelers are willing to risk a bit more in order to reap greater rewards.