Steelers’ Mitchell Trubisky among players receiving cue balls after beating the Bengals in overtime

CINCINNATI — After his team’s dramatic 23-20 win in overtime, Mike Tomlin made a point to reward any player who had just completed their first game as a Steeler. Every freshman Steeler, including quarterback Mitch Trubisky, received a cue ball after helping Pittsburgh eke out a win over the Bengals in the final game of overtime.

“It’s good to come here, in a hostile environment, and not blink,” said Tomlin after the game. “Especially the number of new guys – whether they were beginners or new to us. I just gave all the new guys cue balls. The guys who have been here before have a certain expectation. You know what the standard of expectation is but I can’t say enough about the new guys and how they came by our side and fought like they were here. And that’s just so crucial in environments like this.

Tomlin brought on several new players Sunday, including Trubisky, offensive linemen Mason Cole and James Daniels, receivers George Pickens and Gunner Olszewski, defensive linemen DeMarvin Leal and Larry Ogunjobi, linebacker Myles Jack and cornerback Levi Wallace. Trubisky, who spent last season as Josh Allen’s backup in Buffalo, won his first game as the Steelers’ starting quarterback after directing the game-winning drive late in overtime. He had three big finishes on the drive, including a 26-yard finish against tight end Pat Freiermuth.

“We played to win,” Trubisky said of the offensive mindset on that final drive. “We had another chance and we wanted to make the most of it. We wanted to be smart and take care of the football but also try to win. We didn’t want it to end in a draw but I didn’t think about it. It all started with this big chunk game to pat in scramble and special teams did a great job to finish it.

Trubisky has been fairly transparent about his overall performance. The former Pro Bowler finished the game for 194 yards and a touchdown on 21 of 38 passes. Perhaps Trubisky’s biggest statistic was zero, which was the number of sales he had. Conversely, his counterpart, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, threw four interceptions that resulted in 14 Pittsburgh points.

“It can be a lot better,” Trubisky said of his performance. “I need to find more completions, connect the field and get the ball out. I can be smarter about how I use my legs and pick up more yards. It definitely has to be better on third downs. That’s the money for the quarterback and you have to stay on the field. It gives the defense a break. We need to find more ways to score points and I can do better in that regard.

In general, the Steelers offense has a lot to do. As Trubisky mentioned, Pittsburgh struggled with third place and finished the game in third place with only four conversions in 15 situations. The Steelers also struggled to run the ball, finishing the game with just 75 yards on 22 carries, nearly half of those yards being gained by receiver Chase Claypool. Pittsburgh struggled to put together long drives, with only one drive spanning 50 yards.

There’s still work to be done, but on Sunday the Steelers’ offense did just enough to end their three-game loss to the Bengals. Trubisky was also good enough to win his first black and gold start.

“I mean a lot,” Trubisky said of the ball and the win. “You always want to be first when you’re new to the team. Being back as a starter means a lot. It was crazy but at the end of the day we found a way. That’s all that matters is the win. ”

The game was also a game to remember for Ogunjobi, who ended his 2021 season at the field in January during the Bengals’ wildcard playoff win over the Raiders. Ogunjobi endured a tumultuous offseason before joining the Steelers late in the offseason. He also wore a winner’s smile as he enjoyed his first win with his new team.

“It’s a blessing”, Ogunjobi told CBS Sports after the win. “You get injured on that field earlier this year and you don’t know if you can play the game again. I just thank god It’s important to get back on the field, to be myself again. ” Steelers’ Mitchell Trubisky among players receiving cue balls after beating the Bengals in overtime

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