PITTSBURGH (GSM) — Devin Bush is a rookie but is playing like he’s been there for years. The middle linebacker, drafted in the 1st round of the 2019 NFL Draft from Michigan, is making a name for himself for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Early in his pro career to the present, he has always remained positive on his way to NFL stardom. Bush mentioned fellow teammates he’s looked up to, “Vince [Williams] is someone I’ve looked up to.” Bush said. “Ryan [Shazier] could easily be somewhere else doing completely something different. He’s invested in the team as a guy who loves football. He wants his team to excel as well as his teammates.”
This week, Bush was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week after his performance against the Los Angeles Chargers. He was responsible for two takeaways in the game. 1 interception and 1 fumble recovery for a touchdown.
PITTSBURGH (GSM) — Even though the Pittsburgh Steelers lead the all-time series against the Chargers 23-10 (including the post-season), Pittsburgh has an uphill battle as they struggle against teams when traveling across time zones.
The last 3 meetings against teams on the West Coast (or relatively close) has resulted in losses. In 2018, the Steelers fell on the road to the Oakland Raiders (24-21), Denver Broncos (24-17) and in ’19 walked away winless when facing the San Francisco 49ers (24-20), respectively.
This week, the Chargers are at home and face their own struggles. Sitting at 2-3 and 3rd place in the AFC West, Los Angeles is coming off of a loss to division rival Denver Broncos.
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers — who Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin labeled a, Hall of Fame caliber quarterback” — has a completion percentage of 68% on 194 passes and 7 touchdowns, however, is missing his anchor on the offensive line for the season. Mike Pouncey (twin brother to Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey) was placed on the team’s injured reserve list on Oct 9 after suffering a neck injury against the Broncos. An injury that will have him sidelined for the season, possibly longer.
Rivers, who has faced adversity before, said in a press conference, “We have to be physical, come out and be hungry.”
The Steelers — on the other hand — must rely on their defense to carry the load and stop the Chargers offense who has proven to be efficient in recent history. The addition of safety Minkah Fitzpatrick has assisted Pittsburgh in defensive stops across the middle. In his Steelers debut, he recorded an interception and has made a significant impact in the secondary. Fitzpatrick was acquired from the Miami Dolphins for a 2020 1st round pick and a 6th-rounder in 2021.
PITTSBURGH (GSM) – The Steelers check the box in the win category!
The Cincinnati Bengals went into Heinz Field winless as were the Steelers prior to the Monday Night matchup. Both teams were 0 and 3 and in need of a victory, especially against opponents in the AFC North division. Pittsburgh, however was relentless against the Bengals sacking quarterback Andy Dalton 8 times in the game, setting a precedent early and not letting up. The final score was Pittsburgh 27 Cincinnati 3. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin after the game said, “In an effort for us to be at our best, it takes collaborative work in all three phases to produce an environment where your strengths get an opportunity to show. And it was able to show tonight.” Tomlin’s team rallied around 2nd year quarterback Mason Rudolph who was awarded the team ball.
Rudolph getting his first win as a starter didn’t disappoint in the statistical category. He completed 24 of 28 passes for 229 yards, 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. His quarterback rating was 124.6 which is the league’s 3rd highest for week 4, only behind Philip Rivers of the LA Chargers and Tennessee Titans QB Marcus Mariota. Rudolph clearly excited about his first win as a pro but seemed to remain humble calling it a group effort. “It’s great. Unbelievable team win.” Rudolph said. “A lot of leadership in the locker room and guys that know how to win and guys who have won a lot of games in their careers. We stuck together all week even with the rough start. Our message all week was stack one and then start stacking more. That is the plan moving forward and we have a heck of a group of guys that are going to do that.”
Running back James Conner, who scored a touchdown in the game holds his teammates — especially the defense — in high regard saying, “I think our defense started it off. The defense created a turnover early and those big sacks on third down. Just playing off each other – the momentum.”
Rookie wide receiver Diontae Johnson scored his second touchdown this season and received his first win as a professional player. He caught a 43-yard strike from Rudolph in the 3rd quarter.
The Steelers have back-to-back home games and are already preparing to face another AFC North rival in the Baltimore Ravens Sunday.