It wasn’t pretty, but then again, when is August football ever a thing of beauty?
For the defending champion Steelers, it must have been strange to look over across the field and see the same team they beat six months ago for their sixth Super Bowl title. The result of that February game in Tampa was the same, as the Steelers opened the preseason with a 20-10 win over last year’s NFC champion Arizona Cardinals.
The game had little to speak of in the time the starters made their contributions, as Ben Roethlisberger and Kurt Warner, the teams two starting QB’s, combined to throw 16 passes, and neither made an impact with any sort of a scoring drive.
Roethlisberger was 4-for-6 for 33 yards, while Warner was 6-for-10 for 53 yards. The Steelers most effective QB was second-year thrower Dennis Dixon, who was 10-for-19 for 112 yards as he played the entire second half.
The Steelers defense did an excellent job holding the Cards offense down for most of the night, as Arizona managed 329 yards, but only one touchdown, and that came with 3:30 left and the Steelers ahead 17-3. Pittsburgh iced the game when kicker Piotr Czech nailed a 44-yard field goal with 1:41 left to finish off the 20-10 win.
The Steelers also got a 50-yard field goal from regular kicker Jeff Reed, and two touchdowns from backup running back Isaac Redman, one from three yards out and the other from five yards out. Neil Rackers 29-yard field goal tied the game at three at the half.
Mike Tomlin said post game that there would be plenty of mistakes to watch in the game film, and that the team still has a long way to go, which is what August football is all about. He’s right, but for the most part, the team is where it needs to be with three preseason games left and most practice sessions to go.
The Steelers will play their second preseason game in nine days in Washington vs the Skins. The Cardinals will be at home for the San Diego Chargers on August 22nd.