Wins and losses are always a determining factor in the NFL. But successful backup quarterbacks often simply give their teams a chance to win.
Unfortunately for the Pittsburgh Steelers, backup quarterback Mitch Trubisky hasn’t really given the team much of an opportunity to still win with him behind center this season.
Trubisky has played in four games during 2023, all of which have been Steelers losses. In three of those contests, Trubisky played at least a half.
In his first start of 2023, Trubisky gave the Steelers a chance to win in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. But that was after the team fell behind the previously 2-10 New England Patriots by 18 points. Trubisky had an interception and nearly a couple more picks in the embarrassing defeat.
The Steelers coaching staff, though, isn’t giving up on Trubisky. In fact, interim offensive coordinator Eddie Faulkner seemed to double down on Trubisky while speaking to the media on December 13.
“He’s out there just slinging that thing, having fun, and playing ball,” Faulkner said of Trubisky when he’s at his best, via Steelers Depot’s Matthew Marczi. “I think that’s what Mitch is. He’s a guy that’s gonna push the ball down the field and take shots and opportunities. Hopefully we’ll continue to build on that and what his personality is.”
Trubisky will make his second consecutive start against the Indianapolis Colts on December 16.
Steelers’ Mitch Trubisky Looking for First 2023 Victory
Trubisky began the 2022 season as Pittsburgh’s starter behind center. He posted a 1-3 record before losing his job to Kenny Pickett.
But Trubisky salvaged the 2022 season with a great relief performance in Week 6 to beat Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Trubisky then won his next start in Week 15, which began the team’s four-game winning streak to end the season.
It’s been a different story for the 29-year-old quarterback this year. His sample size isn’t very big, but Trubisky has showcased questionable accuracy and decision-making in four appearances.
He owns a 60.7% completion percentage, which is his lowest since his rookie season. Trubisky has also thrown 3 interceptions on just 84 pass attempts.
Trubisky has dealt with interception problems throughout his career. But he’s also been know to strike on big passing plays down the field. During his Pro Bowl season in 2018, Trubisky averaged a career-high 7.4 yards per attempt and 11.2 yards per completion.
It sounds like Faulkner desires a game plan where the team’s offense doesn’t minimize Trubisky’s risk of throwing an interception but rather capitalizes on the quarterback’s aggressiveness.
Steelers Trying to Stay Alive in AFC Playoff Race
The Steelers could certainly use more big passing plays. While the team moved back into a postseason spot despite its Thursday Night Football loss because of the results in Week 14, a third straight defeat in Week 15 could sink the Steelers.
There are six teams with a 7-6 record in the AFC. Pittsburgh is currently first among those teams because of tiebreakers, but a loss to the Colts could drop the Steelers to 11th in the conference.
“It’s playoff football four weeks early,” said Steelers center Mason Cole, according to TribLive.com’s Joe Rutter.
Trubisky has started two playoff games in his career, both of which were losses. But he didn’t play terribly in either game.
The Steelers may need Trubisky’s best must-win performance to stay in the playoff hunt another week.