Pittsburgh Ends The Magic in Tampa, 30-27
The Fitzmagic finally ran out. The Steelers saved their season. And Vance McDonald stiff armed the pads off Chris Conte. He'll be reliving this moment forever. You can relive Monday Night Football by reading on... a little less painful.
Bucs quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick set an NFL record with three straight 400-yard passing games to open a season, but Ben Roethlisberger was better. The Steelers beat the Bucs 30-27 despite 17 unanswered in a second-half Tampa Bay comeback. Pittsburgh (1-1-1) got its first win of the season while the Bucs suffered their first loss (2-1).
First Half Fitztragic
Fitzpatrick tossed three interceptions in the first half on Monday night, and the talk on ESPN quickly shifted to Jameis Winston's return in Tampa Bay (he comes back to work on Tuesday morning after a three-game suspension).
The Fitz -- playing with house money -- let it rip in the second half, and nearly lifted the Bucs to their biggest 4th-quarter comeback in franchise history. He led Tampa Bay on three consecutive scoring drives in the second half before going three-and-out in the Bucs final possession. Pittsburgh put the game on ice with three first downs to run out the clock.
Steelers Season Saved
On the brink of going 0-2-1 to start the year -- and being the only winless team in an AFC North division that includes the Cleveland Browns -- the Pittsburgh offense came out slinging. Roethlisberger threw for 353 yards and three touchdowns with a passer rating of 120.7 -- 75 yards on the catch-and-shuck by McDonald.
What's Next For Both Teams
Tampa Bay: The Bucs travel to Chicago on Sunday for a date with the Bears. Chicago is 2-1 with that one loss to the Packers by just one point. Fitzpatrick wasn't perfect on Monday night, but he's still thrown for 1200+ yards and 11 touchdowns through the first three games. We'll wait to see if and when Jameis Winston will retake the wheel for Tampa.
Pittsburgh: The Steelers host the Ravens on Sunday night for an AFC North battle. It was also announced Monday that Pittsburgh has begun fielding calls for running back holdout Le'Veon Bell.