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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Rapid Reaction: Steelers 27, Buccaneers 17

The Buccaneers fell to the Steelers, 27-17, in the 2023 preseason opener 


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 27-17, in preseason Week One. Self-inflicted wounds solidified the outcome of the Bucs' preseason opener. 

The Bucs' offense got off to a slow start inside Raymond James Stadium with penalties becoming the main storyline in the preseason opener. Tampa Bay was penalized three times for 20 yards in the first two drives, putting the club behind the chains. After the Bucs' defense forced a three-and-out on the Steelers' second drive, the momentum shifted in the Bucs favor. 

Early in the second quarter, the Bucs struck. Baker Mayfield hit rookie Trey Palmer in the back corner of the end zone for an eight-yard touchdown. Mayfield lobbed the ball over the leaping hands of defensive back James Pierre and into the waiting grasp of Palmer. Through the first three series, Mayfield went eight-of-nine for 41 yards and a touchdown. The Bucs tied the game at seven, and the club's defense continued the positive trend. Rookie Zyon McCollum matched Pittsburgh receiver Cody White stride-for-stride down the left sideline, mirroring the wideout's route. He tracked the ball perfectly, flipping his head around to haul in the catch. 

Kyle Trask took over in the second quarter but was not able to find the end zone. He was intercepted by Steelers' Trenton Thompson and concluded the first half completing three-of-five passes for 29 yards. On the night, he completed six-of-10 passes for 99 yards. Pittsburgh held a net yard advantage of 191-119 over Tampa Bay in the first half. Penalties (six, 45 yards) consistently nullified positive plays for the Buccaneers in the first half, stalling tempo. Conversely, the Steelers found the end zone twice, boasting a 33-yard connection between Kenny Pickett and George Pickens, along with a 14-yard Anthony McFarland run, giving them a first-half boost. 

The Buccaneers went scoreless in the third quarter, while Pittsburgh put up 10, courtesy of a 67-yard touchdown bomb from Rudolph to Calvin Austin and a B.T. Potter 43-yard field goal. The fourth quarter quickly became a microcosm of the evening for the Bucs. J.J. Russell nabbed an interception but once again, Tampa Bay shot themselves in the foot with a penalty. Sean Tucker's 12-yard touchdown run was taken back by a holding flag, forcing the Bucs to settle for a field goal, making it a 27-10 ballgame. The Bucs had a last-ditch touchdown just under the two-minute warning as John Wolford hit Payne Durham for a four-yard touchdown, as the rookie boxed out a Pittsburgh defender. However, too many miscues early-on sealed the Bucs' fate in preseason Week One.

View the top photos of Tampa Bay's Preseason Week 1 matchup vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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