The third preseason game is usually the game where you get to see the starters for the most time and get to see what you have (for the most part). From what I saw it wasn’t the Steelers best performance. The defense took way too many penalties and the offense really didn’t get much going with DD in with the first unit. Now, you can’t take everything from a half of a preseason football game but there defiantly is some improvements that need to be made. Luckily the penalties can be fixed pretty easy, so I am not worried too badly.
This is pretty much how I feel about it.
Before we get started looking at the game I just have to say how glad I am that the AFC plays on CBS and not on Fox. The pregame intro for the game was such a joke it isn’t even funny. For those of you that missed it they cut in with Ben’s apology and then they go to Tim Tebow getting drafted and throw them up side by side. Whoever thought this was a good idea for a lead in really needs to get fired. What a joke. This happened how long ago? Let it go. This is just as bad as Florio throwing up a three line story with Roethlisberger in the headline to get hits. Joke.
Dixon got his chance to play against the first team of the Broncos defense and he did not look good. He forced a pass in the back of the end zone when the Steelers were in the red zone and it was intercepted. He then was driving the team down the field right before the half and threw a pick six. He other passes were not very accurate and he just never really seemed to get into any kind of rhythm. I mean to be honest you kinda knew this was going to happen. First time against first team defense and I didn’t really expect him to light the world on fire, but I think he can still play some for this team in the regular season.
The defense was uncharacteristically hyped up today, and it showed, in a very bad way. Four personal foul penalties in the first half alone. A lot of them were after the whistle mental mistakes. Keenan Lewis was caught for two of the personal foul calls and really didn’t play a good game at all. Granted the first personal foul call was a bit sketchy, but you know how the NFL is when wide receivers get three feet near the sidelines, you aren’t allowed to touch them. This needs to stop. After Lewis’ second penalty Tomlin pulled him and basically horse collared him as he walked by and gave him a lashing on the field. I love Mike Tomlin.
The offensive line wasn’t very good tonight. Flo jumped a few times, Max jumped, Trai wasn’t very good all night. Like I have said before everyone knew offensive line wasn’t going to be great, but we have won with bad o-lines before. It happens. Not that it should happen, but it is not like it should be a shock or such a let down that the o-line is struggling.
Some things are pretty much set in stone; the sun setting rising in the east and setting in the west, the clock hitting 1:00 twice a day and Ben Roethlisberger being real good at football. When he comes back this team could be pretty scary on offense. First play from scrimmage, with the boo birds coming down he throws a strike to Mike Wallace for almost 60 yards like it was nothing. Ben is the thing that makes this offense goes and he is a top five QB in the NFL, without a doubt. Having him back is going to be huge and if the Steelers can get past those first four games with a couple wins then this could be a very dangerous team.
The second unit really wasn’t spectacular or too depressing on either side, so I really don’t have much to say about that. I do think that Emmanuel Sanders has this team made and Antonio Brown might have it made too. Both made a few mistakes tonight, but you can see that the talent is there. Not sure who gets the ax if they are on the team, but if only one of them makes it then that should make the next couple of weeks very, very interesting.
Jon Dwyers had a pretty productive night. Most of his success came in the fourth quarter but he was a beast. Chuck Batch also made a case (for what? I have no idea) for some more PT with a drive where it was all Jon and Chuck. Dwyer got a carry where he was hit by two Broncos players and drove a pile almost 10 yards before going down. Next play he rips off a 40 yard run. Chuck then eludes some defenders (something that Lefty can’t do) and drops an absolute dime for a first down then tack on a roughing the passer penalty then zinged a pass to Antonio Brown for six. One of the best (if not the best) drives of the night for the black and gold. Whatev. I’ll take it.
Just when Chuck looks ok, he has a miscommunication with Brown (I think) and it goes for a pick six. The Broncos job around a little more and have a big punt return and that was pretty much it. Mud football game for the Steelers.
Overall I really don’t think that the Steelers played a good game, but believe you me if Mike Tomlin has anything to say about it, the Steelers will be ready for week one. The best part about this game was that it doesn’t count for shit. It basically never happened as far as I am concerned. If these things are happening in weeks three and four then I will start to get really worried.
Here We Go.