Lions could buy backup QB after 19-9 loss to Steelers Detroit News

PITTSBURGH (AP) –Mike Tomlin will meet with the rest of the Pittsburgh Steelers braintrust before announcing who will be the starting quarterback in Cincinnati in two weeks.

Mitch Trubisky presented a compelling enough case to keep the conversation short.

Unfazed behind an offensive line that remains a work in progress, Trubisky finished an otherwise spectacular preseason with 80 seconds of precision, leading a clean 92-yard touchdown to end the first half in a 19-9 victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

Trubisky’s final throw of a busy August was a 6-yard dart to Steven Sims that gave the Steelers a 16-point lead and likely erased any doubts about who will run down the field with the offense. starting against defending champions AFC North Bengals on 11 September. Trubisky finished the preseason 24 of 34 for 283 yards and two touchdowns against no interceptions.

“I feel confident with where I am,” Trubisky said.

He should, even with rookie Kenny Pickett doing his best to apply some pressure. Pickett went 10-for-14 for 90 yards while playing the majority of the second half and completed 80% (29 of 36) of his passes during the preseason, with three touchdowns and no picks.

“If it’s me (as a starter), I’m going to play as hard as I can and be the best I can be,” Pickett said. “If it’s Mitch or Mason (Rudolph), whoever it is, I’ll support them and I’ll be ready when my number is called and I’ll be the best QB on the sidelines that I can be.”

Pickett is still part of Pittsburgh’s future. Trubisky, however, seems to be part of the present. Five months after signing a two-year contract with Pittsburgh in hopes of reviving his career, Trubisky’s professionalism and play since the start of training camp have given Tomlin little reason to return so quickly. the keys to the franchise at the 20th pick in the draft.

Tomlin is tired of answering questions about the quarterback job, perhaps because it happened so rarely in his first 15 years on the job with Roethlisberger’s name written in permanent marker atop the board. depth. Clarity will come at some point in the coming days, although Tomlin called the situation a “good deal”.

There are also a handful of not so good ones.

The starting offensive line, scarred after a bad half last week against Jacksonville, was once again sloppy and disorganized at times. Twice the Steelers started a series inside the Detroit 30 in the first half. Twice they failed to register a single first down and were forced to settle for one of Chris Boswell’s four field goals.

Tomlin played most of his starters on both sides of the ball in the first half, and it nearly cost the Steelers after All-Pro linebacker TJ Watt and Pro Bowl wide receiver Diontae Johnson were both injured.

Watt, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, injured his left knee after receiving a cut block from Detroit tight end TJ Hockenson in the second quarter. Hockenson appeared to apologize to Watt immediately after the game, and Watt remained in the game briefly before being pulled.

Johnson, who signed a lucrative extension earlier this month, also left in the first half with a shoulder injury after landing awkwardly after a fine 38-yard reception from the sideline.

Tomlin said both injuries appeared to be minor and might have returned had the game counted, dismissing the risk of playing them in a meaningless game.

“You can’t box without sparring,” Tomlin said.

The Lions (1-2), who have spent the last month taking a rare turn in the spotlight as part of the “Hard Knocks” docuseries, have slightly more low-key quarterback competition. As starter Jared Goff took his leave, Tim Boyle and David Blough attempted to clarify the reserve position.

Neither of them really stood out. Boyle completed just 5 of 15 passes for 64 yards while working the first half. He also threw an interception directly to Pittsburgh cornerback Cam Sutton, who didn’t even have to move as Boyle hit Sutton between the 2 and 0 on his jersey as he sat in the box. cover.

Blough has been a little more effective working against players who hope to still have NFL jobs after teams reduced their rosters to 53 on Tuesday afternoon. Blough went 17 of 32 for 160 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown to Quintez Cephus with 30 seconds left.

“I think (the backup situation) has become very clear,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said. “I think we got some answers and I’ll leave it at that.”

The Lions could be looking for a replacement quarterback this week. There might be one available in Pittsburgh, where Rudolph appears to be the third man in the three-way race.

Lions: Welcome to Philadelphia at Ford Field on 9/11.

Steelers: Start the season on the road for the eighth straight year when they travel to Cincinnati. The Bengals swept Pittsburgh’s season series last fall.

Charles P. Patton