What it means: The Steelers looked like the 2012 and 2013 8-8 teams that found ways to lose games to lesser opponents. They did just that with an uneven performance against the previously winless Buccaneers. The Steelers beat themselves by committing 13 penalties for 125 yards and losing an early fumble that gave the visiting Buccaneers, who needed an early confidence boost in the worst way, a 7-0 lead two minutes into the game. They made one late defensive stand against the Buccaneers but couldn’t do it again after Tampa Bay got the ball back with a little more than a minute left in the game. The Steelers (2-2) had several chances to put the Buccaneers away, including early in the fourth quarter, when a sure touchdown pass from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger clanged off the hands of Antonio Brown. Shelve that talk about the Steelers going on a run. This may well be another .500 team.
Stock watch: The defense kept the Steelers in the game early, but it did not get enough pressure on Tampa Bay quarterback Mike Glennon, who was making his first start of the season. Glennon moved the Buccaneers right down the field at the end of the game and threw the game-winning touchdown pass with seven seconds left. The Steelers' secondary isn't good enough to cover for the front seven when it doesn't consistently pressure the quarterback.
Miller time: Roethlisberger couldn’t have placed an early pass any better than if he had walked up to Heath Miller and put it in his hands. The normally reliable Miller inexplicably dropped the pass at a time when the Steelers were tripping themselves, but the 10th-year veteran more than made up for it. Miller caught the next eight passes that Roethlisberger threw his way, including a 5-yard touchdown that snapped a 17-17 tie. Miller’s nine catches for 80 yards were both season highs, and he moved into eighth place on the Steelers' list for career yards from scrimmage. Miller now has the fourth-most receiving yards in franchise history.
Injury update: The Steelers made it through the game relatively unscathed, a welcome development after losing three defensive starters to significant injuries in the third quarter alone last Sunday. Roethlisberger appeared to bang his throwing hand against a helmet in the second quarter -- it was announced that he had hurt his right arm -- but he was fine. Cody Wallace started for the second consecutive week at left guard, filling in for Ramon Foster (ankle). Foster practiced last week but was limited on Friday and did not dress against the Buccaneers.
Game ball: Roethlisberger became just the 12th player in NFL history to throw for at least 35,000 yards with the same team and he helped pull the Steelers out of an early stupor. With the offense doing nothing and the Steelers facing a 10-point deficit and a third-and-10 deep in their own territory, Roethlisberger completed a 32-yard pass to wide receiver Markus Wheaton, taking a serious shot after releasing the ball.
What’s next: The Steelers visit the Jacksonville Jaguars next Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. The Jaguars entered Sunday's game at San Diego with an 0-3 record, and they'll have rookie Blake Bortles starting at quarterback.