Vance McDonald uses stiff-arm to end Steelers' scoreless first-quarter streak
TAMPA, Fla. – The Pittsburgh Steelers used a stiff-arm to become the NFL’s final team to score a touchdown in the first quarter this season, one that was a highlight of a 30-27 win on Monday Night Football.
On a 75-yard touchdown play, tight end Vance McDonald caught a pass from Ben Roethlisberger at the Steelers’ 35-yard line and used a stiff-arm to shed Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Chris Conte at midfield. McDonald ran untouched the rest of the way to the end zone.
“That’s a big play for us,” Roethlisberger said. “It’s good to have another weapon out there to complement Jesse (James) and some of the other guys.”
McDonald finished with four catches for 112 yards.
The Steelers had been outscored, 21-0, in the first quarter through the first two games. After Roethlisberger threw an interception, the Bucs ended a five-play, 52-yard drive with a Ryan Fitzpatrick 4-yard touchdown pass to Cameron Brate at 7:21 of the first quarter to fall behind, 7-0, Monday night at Raymond James Stadium.
The Steelers’ celebration didn’t last long, as Chris Boswell’s point-after kick hit the right upright, leaving them trailing, 7-6, at 5:48 of the first quarter.
Don't make him angry.You won't like him when he's angry. pic.twitter.com/e3WBR7oAss— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 25, 2018
McDonald saw a big-play developing when he surveyed the Buccaneers secondary.
“They blew it,” he said. “The safety was in the middle of the field. There literally was nobody left. It was a big-time error on their part.”
Conte was the only player standing between McDonald and the end zone. McDonald flattened him to the ground with one push of his arm.
“I love contact,” McDonald said. “If a DB or safety wants to take me up high, God bless them because I’m going to hit them hard. That’s my goal.”
McDonald’s touchdown began a run of 23 unanswered points for the Steelers.
The stiff-arm was the talk of the locker room after the Steelers held off a furious comeback by the Buccaneers in the fourth quarter.
“Grown-man move,” running back James Conner said.
Added Roethlisberger: “That’s what we want to see from Vance. That’s what we know he can do, so that’s an awesome feeling to have him out there doing those kind of things.”
Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Kevin at email@example.com or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.