Fri Aug 9 11:21pm ET
By DAN SCIFO
Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians, center, walks the sideline during the second half of the team's NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Dare Ogunbowale (44) gets past Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Justin Layne (31) for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Joshua Dobbs, center, is tackled after a long run by Tampa Bay Buccaneers strong safety Kentrell Brice (24) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Pittsburgh, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver James Washington (13) celebrates his touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with wide receiver Tevin Jones (14) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Pittsburgh, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) looks to pass the ball during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin (12) gets past Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Anthony Chickillo (56) for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Pittsburgh, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
PITTSBURGH (AP) Josh Dobbs and Mason Rudolph led the offense on four scoring drives as the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30-28 on Friday night in the preseason opener for both teams.
Two-time Super Bowl winner Ben Roethlisberger gave way to recent draft picks Dobbs and Rudolph to battle for the backup quarterback job.
Jameis Winston led the Bucs' first-team offense to a touchdown in his only offensive series against a Steelers defense that featured few regulars.
Dobbs started and played two series, going 5 of 8 for 85 yards and throwing an interception that was nullified because of offsetting penalties. Dobbs, a fourth-round draft pick in 2017, also had two third-down scrambles for 44 yards, including a 36-yarder that set up a 33-yard field goal by Chris Boswell.
Rudolph entered on the third series and played into the third quarter. He finished 5 of 8 for 91 yards and two touchdowns.
Rudolph, the Steelers' third-round pick in 2018, completed all three attempts during his first series, including an 8-yard touchdown to James Washington, his college teammate at Oklahoma State. In the third quarter, a 59-yard catch-and-run by Johnny Holton set up a 3-yard score to Zach Gentry, the Steelers' fifth-round pick.
Bruce Arians coached his first game for the Buccaneers, and he did it where he was an assistant coach from 2004-11, winning two Super Bowls. Arians, back on the sideline after a year of retirement, coached in Arizona for five seasons and, while in Pittsburgh, helped develop Roethlisberger into one of the league's top quarterbacks.
The Bucs hope he can do the same with Winston, the No. 1 overall pick in 2015 who led the league's top-ranked passing offense in 2018, but has been spotty.
Winston finished 5 of 6 for 40 yards with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Chris Godwin. Winston's lone incompletion was a first-down deep shot from midfield; the Bucs faced third down once during the 12-play, 81-yard drive.
Winston, close to the franchise passing record, has thrown for 14,628 yards. But he's won only 21 of 56 career starts and the Bucs have gone 5-11 in consecutive seasons. Entering the final year of his rookie contract, he's thrown for a franchise-record 88 touchdowns in four seasons, but he also has 58 interceptions in those 56 games.
BUSH'S BIG GAME
Steelers first-round pick linebacker Devin Bush finished with 10 tackles, including seven solo in one half. He had six tackles in the first quarter alone, including four solo. Bush, the No. 10 overall pick from Michigan, nearly had an interception and was part of a fourth-and-1 stop in the second quarter.
BUCS RUNNING BACKS
Tampa Bay running backs Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones combined for 36 yards on just seven carries against the Steelers. The Bucs had one of the worst rushing offenses in the league last season. Barber led the team with 871 yards and five touchdowns in 16 games. Jones, the Bucs' second-round pick in 2018, had just 22 yards on 28 carries in the preseason last year, and 44 yards and a score on 23 carries during the regular season, when he struggled with the playbook. He had 18 yards on four carries Friday.
WASHINGTON WITH THE CATCH
Washington, the Steelers' second-round pick in 2018, finished with four catches for 84 yards and a touchdown. Washington also caught a 43-yard pass while Pittsburgh was backed up at its 6-yard line, and hauled in a 22-yard reception on third-and-21 from the Steelers 10.
Boswell converted both his field goal tries for Pittsburgh, while Matt Gay went 1 for 1 for Tampa Bay.
Boswell was a Pro Bowler in 2017, but he struggled last season, converting just 65% percent of his kicks. He hit from 47 and 33 yards against Tampa Bay.
Gay, the Bucs' fifth-round pick from Utah, closed the first half with a 55-yard field goal. It matched the longest NFL kick in stadium history.
Tampa Bay: welcomes Miami next Friday.
Pittsburgh: host Kansas City on Saturday, Aug. 17
Updating a previous report, Cleveland Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. (undisclosed) returned for the second half of the Week 2 game against the New York Jets. He jogged off with an apparent lower leg injury near the end of the second quarter.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are acquiring defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick from the Miami Dolphins in exchange for a 2020 first-round pick, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Fitzpatrick requested a trade late last week and it was reported that the Dolphins wanted a first round pick for the 11th overall selection in the 2018 draft. As a rookie, he totaled 80 tackles, two interceptions, and nine passes defended. The 22-year-old can play safety and slot corner, but the Steelers Defense could use help at both spots so it will be interesting to see how they utilize him. Pittsburgh has a Week 3 matchup with San Francisco, but it's not advisable to stream them in a road matchup.
New York Jets WR Demaryius Thomas (hamstring) aggravated his hamstring injury in Week 2 against the Cleveland Browns and he will not return.
Fantasy Spin: Thomas is clearly not 100 percent, was rushed into action and he is now hurt. Avoid him in all fantasy leagues until he can return to health, get familiar with the playbook and show a little consistency.
Cleveland Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. (lower leg) suffered an apparent lower leg injury late in the second quarter after landing awkwardly in the end zone in Week 2 against the New York Jets. He attempted to get up, couldn't walk, and went back down to his backside. He then jogged off to meet with the training staff before trotting to the locker room right before halftime.
Fantasy Spin: Beckham looked to be in obvious discomfort initially, but he ran rather briskly into the locker room on third and long, suggesting he might be OK to begin the second half. We'll keep an eye on it.
Updating a previous report, Cleveland Browns TE David Njoku (concussion) suffered a concussion in the first quarter of the Week 2 game against the New York Jets and he will not return.
Fantasy Spin: Njoku was upended on a pass play and landed awkwardly after having his legs taken out, hitting his head on the field turf surface. Demetrius Harris, Ricky Seal-Jones and Pharaoh Brown are the next men up at the position, with Harris likely to see the most targets.
New York Jets quarterback Trevor Siemian (ankle) suffered what looked to be a serious ankle injury in the second quarter on Monday night against the Browns. Siemian was hit hard and got his ankle caught underneath him while being taken to the turf. Somehow he was able to walk off the field under his own power and is being taken to the locker room. We'd be surprised if he were able to come back into this game. Third-stringer Luke Falk is now in the game. The Jets haven't been able to get any offense going and are leaning heavily on running back Le'Veon Bell. Siemian was an embarrassing 3-for-6 for three yards before he departed.
New York Jets QB Trevor Siemian (leg) was hit in the second quarter of the Week 2 game against the Cleveland Browns and it appeared he suffered a lower leg injury. The telecast immediately cut away after the replay which showed the gruesome injury.
Fantasy Spin: Siemian was started in place of Sam Darnold (mononucleosis), and he didn't even last until halftime. The Jets will now turn to Luke Falk, the sixth-round pick of the Tennessee Titans in 2018, takes over under center. Siemian was able to walk off gingerly to the locker room with the help of the training staff.
Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku (concussion) suffered a concussion in the first half on Monday night against the Jets and will not return. Njoku was targeted just once on the play that resulted in his injury in which he went up in the air to receive the ball and was upended. The tight end came down hard on his head and neck and was taken to the locker room for evaluation. With Njoku out the rest of the way, Demetrius Harris and Ricky Seals-Jones should share repetitions. Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry are in for more targets in the second half.
New York Jets LB Jordan Jenkins (calf) suffered a calf injury during the Week 2 game and is considered doubtful to return.
Cleveland Browns TE David Njoku (head) left the Week 2 game early and is being evaluated for a concussion.
Fantasy Spin: Njoku will need to be medically cleared before he can play again, so he may not return to the game. He can be considered a low-end No. 1 tight end when he is healthy.
The Miami Dolphins are likely to trade defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick by Tuesday, and the team is expected to receive a first-round pick in exchange for him. The Redskins, Cowboys, Chiefs, Steelers, Eagles and Seahawks are the teams in the mix to acquire Fitzpatrick and offers are being made. In full-on rebuilding mode, the Dolphins are trading all of their best players. The 11th overall pick last year, Fitzpatrick has been unhappy with his role moving all around Miami's defense to start the year, which aided in him asking to be dealt. Miami's defense is likely to be gashed by opponents all season long, and the Cowboys are next up in Week 3 in Dallas.
Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay said that tight end Tyler Higbee (lung) suffered a lung contusion in Week 2 against the Saints and will be day-to-day. Higbee was coughing up blood and was sent to the hospital as a precaution, but this looks like an injury that luckily may not even cause him to miss any games. The 26-year-old caught two of his three targets for 21 yards before leaving on Sunday. If he plays on Sunday night against the Browns, he'll be a low-end, touchdown-dependent TE2. Gerald Everett would be a desperation TE2 if Higbee sits out.
Los Angeles Rams TE Tyler Higbee (lung) and C Austin Blythe (ankle) are considered day-to-day after suffering injuries in Week 2.
New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees (thumb) said he is scheduled to meet with a specialist Tuesday, Sept. 17, and will make a decision in the near future.
Fantasy Spin: Brees is expected to miss at least six weeks because of the thumb injury, but fantasy players may want to wait for an official timetable for making any decisions. Teddy Bridgewater will take over the starting job while Brees is sidelined but may only be a No. 2 fantasy quarterback.
Free-agent WR Amara Darboh was signed to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice squad Monday, Sept. 16. The team also released WR Emanuel Hall from their practice squad.
Arizona Cardinals RB David Johnson (wrist) will be available to play in the Week 3 game despite the wrist injury he suffered in Week 2, according to head coach Kliff Kingsbury.
Fantasy Spin: Johnson was held to only 14 total yards in the Week 2 game but should be more involved in the offense this week. Fantasy players in all leagues should have Johnson in their starting lineups.
Atlanta Falcons DT Ra'Shede Hageman (undisclosed) was waived/injured Monday, Sept. 16.
San Francisco 49ers defensive end Dee Ford (knee) is "still hurting today," according to head coach Kyle Shanahan. Ford has been playing through tendinitis since the preseason. It's the reason why he's had his snaps limited through two weeks, but he's been effective while on the field and has one sack and a forced fumble. The Niners defense has looked much better through two weeks but hasn't been tested much by the Bucs and Bengals. For them to continue their production all year, they'll definitely need a healthy Ford and second overall pick Nick Bosa rushing the passer.
New York Giants WR Sterling Shepard (concussion) is still going through the concussion protocol but has been cleared to practice in a non-contact jersey.
Fantasy Spin: Shepard needs to be cleared by doctors before he is allowed to play, so fantasy players should monitor his practice participation this week. He is the team's top receiver when he is healthy but may only be a No. 3 fantasy receiver or flex option when he returns.