Not only was Fitzpatrick (knee) ruled out, but cornerbacks Cam Sutton (hamstring), Ahkello Witherspoon (hamstring) and Levi Wallace (concussion) -- the Steelers' top three corners -- were all also ruled out on the Steelers' final injury report Friday.
Witherspoon hasn't played since suffering a hamstring injury against the Cleveland Browns in a Week 3 loss, while Sutton and Fitzpatrick were both injured in the Week 4 loss to the Jets. Both played in Sunday's 38-3 loss to the Buffalo Bills, but Sutton was unable to finish the game.
Wallace also suffered a concussion in the Bills game, along with tight end Pat Freiermuth, who was also ruled out against the Buccaneers. The Steelers' secondary has been stretched thin since the loss of T.J. Watt, and various injuries have kept the unit from being whole for several weeks. As a result, the Steelers are 30th in the league in pass defense, allowing an average of 287.6 passing yards per game.
With the injuries to their starting cornerbacks, the Steelers will lean on versatile slot corner Arthur Maulet, former Green Bay second-rounder Josh Jackson -- who was elevated from the practice squad prior to the Bills game -- and third-year corner James Pierre to slow Brady and his receivers.
The Steelers will have strong safety Terrell Edmunds, who missed last week with a concussion, but the other safety spot figures to be filled by a combination of Tre Norwood and Miles Killebrew. Safety Damontae Kazee, signed in free agency, was meant to be a safety net as a third safety, but he's been on injured reserve since suffering a wrist injury in the final preseason game.
The Steelers will also be without defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal, who played 23 snaps -- 41% -- against the Bills.
The Buccaneers already have one of the league's best air attacks, averaging 271.6 passing yards per game, and without much help in the secondary, Sunday could get ugly in a hurry for a reeling Steelers team.