Tar Heels in NFL: Trubisky relieves Pickett, is confident, aggressive in helping Steelers upset Bucs; Carter’s Jets role reduced

By R.L. Bynum

Mitch Trubisky has been playing on Pittsburgh’s scout team the last two weeks and not getting live reps in practice, but that didn’t seem to matter Sunday when rookie Kenny Pickett left the game in the third quarter with a concussion.

Two games after Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin benched him in favor of the rookie from Pitt at halftime of the Oct. 2 loss to the New York Jets, Trubisky looked more aggressive and confident. That helped the Steelers hold on for a 20–18 home upset of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“I just came in with an aggressive mindset,” said Trubisky, who entered the game after Ryan Succop’s 24-yard field goal cut Pittsburgh’s lead to 13–12 with 6:31 left in the third quarter. “All my teammates had my back. We just kind of rallied together and pulled it out as a team.”

Trubisky played more confidently than in the four games he started when the Steelers went 1–3. Pittsburgh moved to 2–4 with its first win since Week 1.

“I like to think I’m usually relaxed, even when I start, but maybe I was more relaxed,” Trubisky said. “[I need to] try to do whatever I did in the second half; continue to carry that going forward. So you try to duplicate that, but I think it’s just 11 guys playing as one. I went in there and really tried to play free. I felt relaxed; it felt good. I would love to duplicate what we did.”

Trubisky, who put up a 142.4 passer rating compared to 87.0 for Pickett (and for the Bucs’ Tom Brady), led the Steelers to third-down conversions in the final two drives when they needed 13 (a 14-yard pass to George Pickens), 15 (a 17-yard pass to Chase Claypool), 11 (a 26-yard pass to Claypool) and 6 yards (45-yard pass to Cameron Hayward). Trubisky threw a huge six-yard touchdown pass with 9:55 left in the game to Claypool as the Steelers held on for a 20–18 home upset of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“On those third-and-longs, they were giving me a bunch of time to see the field,” Trubsky said. “[On a] couple, I used my legs and then just some big-time catches by Chase over the middle, Pickens on that other third long to come back to the sideline. So, just the support and playmaking ability for my teammates, the O-line giving me time, and I was able to just come in there and make the plays that we needed to kind of get out with a win.”

In his first home start, Pickett, the 20th overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft, was 11 of 18 for 67 yards and his first NFL touchdown pass. He relieved Trubisky two games ago and was named the starter for last week’s road loss to the Buffalo Bills.

“I liked our aggressive mindset and second half, especially when I came in, so I just wanted to continue to carry that,” Trubisky said. “I knew we needed to score in order to stay out in front and win that game, and it was nice to stay on the field, finish and get those victory kneels in.”

Asked if his game meant more because he hadn’t played last week, he deflected.

“Honestly, it feels good to win just as a team and to show my teammates what I’m capable of,” Trubisky said. “But I think the best part is just seeing their joy and excitement after like a hard-fought victory like that. We’ve had some ups and downs the last couple of weeks, but to have that feeling that’s what you chase every single week and hopefully, it just continues to pull us together.”


Michael Carter’s role with the New York Jets continues to be diminished in favor of rookie Breece Hall from Iowa State, with Hall starting ahead of Carter for the first time this season. While Carter had a better yards-per-carry average in the Jets’ 27–10 win at Green Bay (6.8–5.8), he had six carries for 41 yards, 25 coming on one run. Hall carried the ball 20 times for 116 yards, including a 34-yard run and one touchdown. Carter had 27 snaps compared to 37 for Hall.

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After having a big game last Sunday, Dyami Brown had no catches on one target in Washington’s 12–7 Thursday victory at Chicago. Cole Holcomb collected seven tackles, and five assists for the Commanders and Sam Howell was again inactive.

It was another quiet game for Bears defensive end Robert Quinn, who had one tackle to give him only five through six games.


James Hurst played all 72 offensive snaps and six special-teams snaps in the New Orleans Saints’ 30–26 loss to Cincinnati.


Joshua Ezeudu (four offensive snaps and four special-teams snaps) and Tomon Fox (12 defensiev snaps and one special-teams snap) both played off the bench for the New York Giants in their 24–20 victory over Baltimore.


Myles Dorn played for 20 special-teams snaps in the Minnesota Vikings’ 24–16 win at Miami.


UNC alums with open dates this weekend were Charlie Heck and M.J. Stewart Jr. of Houston and Las Vegas’ Mack Hollins.

Dyami Brown, Washington Commanders wide receiver

12–7 win at Chicago — 0 catches, 1 target; 3 offensive snaps, 2 special-teams snaps
Season statistics — 6 games, 3 catches on 9 targets for 111 yards (37.0 average, 75 longest), 2 TDs; 1 special-teams assist
Up next — 1 p.m. Sunday vs. Green Bay, Fox
———————————————

Michael Carter, New York Jets running back

27–10 win at Green Bay — 6 carries, 41 yards (25 longest; 6.8 average); 1 catch on 1 target, 6 yards; 5.7 fantasy points; 27 offensive snaps (49%)
Season statistics — 6 games, 5 starts; 53 carries, 199 yards (25 longest, 3.8 average), 2 TDs; 18 catches on 21 targets, 100 yards (12 longest)
Up next — 4:05 p.m. Sunday at Denver, CBS
———————————————

Myles Dorn, Minnesota Vikings defensive back

24–16 win at Miami — Played 20 special-teams snaps (65%)
Season statistics — 3 games, 1 assist
Up next after Week 7 open date — 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 30, vs. Arizona, Fox
———————————————

Joshua Ezeudu, New York Giants offensive lineman

24–20 win vs. Baltimore — Played 4 offensive snaps (65) and 4 special-teams snaps (15%) off the bench
Season statistics — 6 games; 50 offensive snaps, 131 special-teams snaps
Up next —
1 p.m. Sunday at Jacksonville, Fox
———————————————

Tomon Fox, New York Giants linebacker

24–20 win vs. Baltimore 1 assist; 12 defensive snaps (20%), 1 special-teams snap (4%)
Season statistics — 4 games; 4 tackles, 3 assists, 1 sack, 1 QB hit
Up next — 1 p.m. Sunday at Jacksonville, Fox
———————————————

Charlie Heck, Houston Texans left tackle

The Texans have a Week 6 open date.
Season statistics — 5 games, 1 start; 12 offensive snaps, 19 special-teams snaps
Up next — 4:05 p.m. Sunday at Las Vegas Raiders, CBS
———————————————

Cole Holcomb, Washington Commanders middle linebacker

12–7 win at Chicago Started; 7 tackles, 5 assists, 9.5 fantasy points; 72 defensive snaps (100%)
Season statistics — 6 games, 6 starts; 32 tackles, 28 assists
Up next — 1 p.m. Sunday vs. Green Bay, Fox
———————————————

Mack Hollins, Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver

The Raiders have a Week 6 open date.
Season statistics — 4 games, 2 starts; 1 of 1 passing, 4 yards; 14 catches on 20 targets, 240 yards (17.1 average, 60 longest)
Up next — 4:05 p.m. Sunday vs. Houston, CBS
———————————————

Sam Howell, Washington Commanders quarterback

12–7 win at Chicago Inactive for game
Season statistics — Hasn’t played
Up next — 1 p.m. Sunday vs. Green Bay, Fox
——————————————

James Hurst, New Orleans Saints tackle

30–26 loss vs. Cincinnati Started at left tackle; 72 offensive snaps (100%), 6 special-teams snaps (21%)
Season statistics — 6 games; 6 starts, 1 fumble recovery, 1 tackle on an interception return; 407 offensive snaps (100%), 18 special-teams snaps
Up next — 8:15 p.m. Thursday at Arizona, Prime Video
———————————————

Robert Quinn, Chicago Bears defensive end

12–7 loss vs. Washington Started; 1 tackle; 36 defensive snaps (63%)
Season statistics — 6 games, 6 starts; 5 tackles (1 for a loss), 2 assists, 1 sack
Up next — 8:15 p.m. Monday at New England, ESPN, ESPN2
———————————————

M.J. Stewart Jr., Houston Texans safety

The Texans have a Week 6 open date.
Season statistics —
5 games; 5 special-teams tackles, 3 special-teams assists
Up next —
4:05 p.m. Sunday at Las Vegas Raiders, CBS
———————————————

Mitchell Trubisky, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback

20–18 win vs. Tampa Bay — 9 of 12, 144 yards (14 longest), 1 TD, 0 INTs, 142.4 passer rating; 6 carries, 5 yards (9 longest); 10.26 fantasy points; 27 offensive snaps (42%)
Season statistics — 5 games, 4 starts; 78 of 138, 797 yards (36 longest), 3 TDs, 2 INTs, 5 sacks; 13 rushes, 29 yards
Up next — 8:30 p.m. Sunday at Miami, NBC
———————————————
Out for the season
Running back Javonte Williams, Denver (torn ACL in right knee); 4 games, 4 starts; 47 carries, 204 yards (4.3 average, 17 longest); 16 catches on 22 targets, 76 yards (4.8 average, 13 longest)
Suspended (violating performance-enhancing substance policy)
Linebacker Andre Smith, Buffalo (first game will be Sunday, Oct. 30 vs. Green Bay)
On injured reserve
Running back Giovani Bernard, ankle injury, Tampa Bay (hasn’t played in regular season)
Running back Ty Chandler, Minnesota, broken thumb (2 games, 1 special-team assist)
On practice squads
Cornerback Kyler McMichael, Buffalo
Linebacker Chazz Surratt, New York Jets (released by Minnesota)
Released after Week 3
Running back Antonio Williams, New York Giants
Released during camp and unsigned
Fullback Jake Bargas, Chicago (earlier by Minnesota)
Defensive tackle Aaron Crawford, Baltimore
Linebacker Jeremiah Gemmel, Denver (earlier by San Francisco)
Wide receiver Dazz Newsome, Chicago
Wide receiver Austin Proehl, New York Giants
Offensive tackle Jordan Tucker, Pittsburgh
Released from injured reserve with settlements
Defensive lineman Jalen Dalton, Atlanta
Tight end Bug Howard, Tampa Bay

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