The Pittsburgh Steelers suffered another crippling home loss, 21-18, to the New England Patriots in Week 14. For the second week in a row, the Steelers struggled to cover tight ends and didn’t have much of a running game.
But afterwards, quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who made his first start of the season in place of an injured Kenny Pickett, accepted blame for the defeat.
“I gotta play better. I feel like I let the guys down,” Trubisky told reporters. “We gotta score off the turnover, a couple of those fourth downs, the one in the red zone, and then the one ball to Diontae [Johnson]. I gotta be better for the guys, for the team.
“It’s disappointing, missed opportunities, and I didn’t play good enough for us to win. That’s how I’m feeling right now.”
Trubisky finished the contest 22-of-35 for 190 passing yards with a touchdown and interception.
The Steelers possessed the ball inside the 9-minute mark of the fourth quarter while trailing by a field goal three times. They scored zero points on those possessions.
Plenty of Blame to Go Around for Steelers in Loss to Patriots
The Steelers should have been an angry football team after losing to the previously 2-10 Arizona Cardinals on December 3. Instead, they were flat in the first half versus the Patriots — on offense and defense.
Trubisky threw an interception late on the first play of the second quarter. That set up the Patriots at the Pittsburgh 11-yard line. New England scored a touchdown two plays later.
But the Steelers defense and special teams were at fault on New England’s other two touchdown drives.
The Patriots drove 75 yards in just 3:48 after the opening kickoff to jump out to an early lead. Then in the second quarter, a 34-yard punt from Pressley Harvin gave the Patriots the ball at their own 41-yard line.
New England quarterback Bailey Zappe tossed his third touchdown of the half four plays after the punt. Just five days prior, the Patriots suffered a shutout loss at home to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Trubisky gave the Steelers a chance to claim a lead in the second half. He threw a touchdown to Diontae Johnson toward the end of the first half and rushed for a score in the fourth quarter.
Trubisky also converted a 2-point try to tight end Pat Freiermuth.
But Trubisky completed just 6 of 12 passes for 38 yards on Pittsburgh’s two final possessions before the two-minute warning. His last incompletion on those two drives was a deep heave intented for Johnson on fourth-and-2.
Trubisky and the Steelers received significant criticism for that aggressive pass.
QB Kenny Pickett to Miss at Least One More Game
Entering Week 14, the Steelers were the top AFC wild card, but with the loss to the Patriots, they have fallen out of a playoff spot.
Pittsburgh’s playoff chances are in significant jeopardy. The schedule is about to get tougher, and Pickett will miss at least one more game.
In the worst case scenario, Pickett could be out for three more weeks.
Trubisky’s performance drew boos and Mason Rudolph chants from the crowd at Acrisure Stadium on December 7. If the Steelers get really desperate to generate offense without Pickett, the last card they could play is inserting Rudolph for Trubisky.
At least for now, that doesn’t seem to be under consideration. Head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters during his postgame press conference that he did not consider benching Trubisky for Rudolph on December 7.