The Bucs started the game by winning the toss and elected to defer. The Pittsburgh Steelers got called for a penatly to back them up to their own 10-yard line. The Bucs' defense proceeded to force a three-and-out and immediately got the ball back. Starting on their own 41-yard line, Tampa Bay suffered the same fate and punted the ball back to Pittsburgh.
The next Pittsburgh possession would see the Steelers move the ball before Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, under duress, escaped a sack only to throw an interception into the waiting arms of Bucs' safety Justin Evans. The Bucs took over at the Pittsburgh 48. They slid inside the redzone on an 18-yard run by running back Peyton Barber. The drive ended in a four-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to tight end Cameron Brate, his first of the season. It put Tampa Bay on the board first 7-0, halfway through the first quarter.
Backed up to third-and-10 on their next series, Roethlisberger threw a short slant to tight end Vance McDonald, who would break a tackle and take the ball 75 yards into the end zone. The point after, however, was no good, preserving a one-point Bucs lead, 7-6, with 5:48 left in the first quarter.
View photos of the Buccaneers' Week 3 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
On the first play of the Bucs' next possession, Fitzpatrick took off running and slid, drawing an unnecessary roughness penalty and the first down when a Pittsburgh defender came in with a late hit to the helmet. Fitzpatrick would connect with receiver Adam Humphries, Howard and then capped it off with a 21-yard pass to Brate to move the Bucs down the field. After Fitzpatrick was sacked by Steelers' linebacker Anthony Chickillo for a loss of nine on third down, the Bucs were forced to punt.
A roughing the passer penalty would get Pittsburgh to the Tampa Bay 34 after a completion to receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. The Bucs held the Steelers to a field goal, which kicker Chris Boswell hit from 38 yards, giving the Steelers a 9-7 lead with 12:14 left in the first quarter.
On the next Bucs' possession, it was second-and-11 and as Fitzpatrick hit Godwin for the completion, the ball popped out as Godwin turned to run with it and the Steelers recovered at the Tampa Bay 33-yard line. On second-and-five, Roethlisberger hit wide receiver Antonio Brown for a short throw that Brown ended up taking into the end zone for the 27-yard score and the Steelers increased their lead to 16-7.
On the first play of the Tampa Bay drive, Fitzpatrick hit Evans for a 27-yard gain. It was followed up by a Pittsburgh penalty on a late hit of Evans out of bounds and the Bucs found themselves at the Steelers' 28. As Tampa Bay was threatening, Fitzpatrick's pass was tipped up and Pittsburgh linebacker Jon Bostic came down with the pick. The Steelers took over at their own six-yard line and Tampa Bay got hit with a roughing the passer penalty that gave Pittsburgh a fresh set of downs at their 21-yard line.
After a roughing the passer penalty would give the Bucs a fresh set of downs on their next drive, Fitzpatrick overshot Evans and Terrell Edmunds picked him off. The next play, the Tampa Bay defense came up big with a sack of Roethlisberger by defensive end Vinny Curry and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy for a loss of 10. Two plays later, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul registered another sack on third down to force the Steelers to punt and prevent them from capitalizing on the turnover, leaving the score 16-7.
The Steelers pinned the Bucs at their own two-yard line and on the first play, Fitzpatrick was intercepted as linebacker Bud Dupree ran it back in for the touchdown and increasing the Steelers' lead to 23-7 with 2:50 left in the half.
Fitzpatrick connected on a pass to Mike Evans and Pittsburgh was hit with another roughing the passer penalty to tack on a few extra yards. The next play, Fitzpatrick aired it out for Mike Evans who came down with the ball for a 51-yard completion to put the Bucs at the Steelers' five-yard line at the two-minute warning. The Bucs would settle for a 21-yard field goal from Chandler Catanzaro, pulling the Bucs within two scores, 23-10, with 1:15 left in the second quarter.
The Steelers drove back down the field, getting to the two-yard line, the Bucs were called on offensive pass interference with gave the Steelers a fresh set of downs at the one-yard line. Roethlisberger then hit receiver Ryan Switzer for the touchdown to increase Pittsburgh's lead to 30-10 as the half ran out on a 75-yard drive that took just 1:11.
The Bucs got the ball back to start the second half. Fitzpatrick fired off two straight completions to receivers DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans before the Bucs were hit with back-to-back false start penalties. Receiver Chris Godwin made a great 56-yard catch where he looked untouched and took the ball into the end zone for what was initially ruled a touchdown. The play was called back. On second down, Fitzpatrick was sacked and the Bucs faced a third down and 18. Fitzpatrick then dumped it off to Godwin again who was able to take the ball 19 yards for the first down. After being hit by an illegal shift penalty, Fitzpatrick was sacked on first-and-11 for a loss of four. The Bucs settled for the 28-yard field goal from Catanzaro and chipped away at the Steelers' 30-13 lead.
The Steelers made it to the Bucs' 29-yard line before Pierre-Paul notched his second sack of the night. He also managed to strip Roethlisberger in the process. It was recovered by Pittsburgh who then went on to attempt the field goal. Boswell hit the post on the attempt and the score stayed 30-13 as the Bucs got the ball back on downs on their own 37.
The Bucs made it past midfield where they were faced with fourth and six, deciding to go for it for their first fourth down attempt of the season. They were successful as Fitzpatrick connected with tight end Cameron Brate on a seven-yard pass. On third-and-goal at the four, Fitzpatrick was finally able to connect with Chris Godwin in the back of the end zone to make the score 30-10 with 11:06 left in the fourth quarter.
The Steelers came up empty on the next drive and DeSean Jackson initially returned the punt for a spectacular touchdown that was called back on a holding penalty by the Bucs. Tampa Bay instead had to start at their own eight-yard line. The Buccaneers then went 92 yards and scored on a 24-yard touchdown pass to Mike Evans to pull the Bucs within three, 30-27. It was also Evans' 35th career receiving touchdown, setting the Bucs' franchise record.
The Steelers and Bucs traded punts as the clock wound down in the fourth quarter. The Steelers marched down the field on their next possession and with the Bucs out of timeouts after the two minute warning were able to hold on to the 30-27 victory on Monday night.