It was preseason game number three, and for the most part, this is the game where it is supposed to be the true measuring stick of where your team is at. If that’s the case, then it appears that the Steelers are playing at a high level, and are ready to get set for their opener on September 10th at home vs the Titans.
There was plenty to be happy about after the Steelers 17-0 win over the Buffalo Bills at Heinz Field. The offense played well in the first half, putting up 10 points, and the defense was for the most part solid all night, taking back an INT for a score, and keeping the Bills off the scoreboard all night.
Here’s the good, and a few of the minor bads from the night as the Steelers move to 2-1 in the preseason:
* There was a lot. The offense was crisp, as Ben Roethlisberger was back, and looked ready for the opener, going 15-for-19 for 168 yards. The offense had 359 yards of offense, and held the ball for a staggering 41:15 to just 18:45 for the Bills. Having Roethlisberger back was a welcome sight.
* The run game didn’t have big numbers (81 yards on 38 carries, 2.1 per carry), but they were able to set a tempo, and Rashard Mendenhall was the starter, putting up 48 yards on 16 carries. He looks like he and Willie Parker will be as solid of a 1-2 punch as their will be in the league.
* Limas Sweed all but clinched the third WR spot, making four catches for 34 yards, including one very good catch on the sideline. 12 players caught passes on the night, and Sweed and Hines Ward combined for 9 catches for 108 yards.
* James Harrison was unblockable all night, and it was his pressure that seemed to cause Trent Edwards to rush the pass that was picked off by James Farrior that was returned for a 22-yard touchdown. Harrison has had a great presason, and seems on his way to another season where he’ll be up for defensive player of the year honors.
* The O-line allowed one sack for minus four yards, and while some say the team should have had more yards rushing, I still think this unit is slowly improving.
Now for the couple of not so good things
* Yes, again, you run the ball 38 times you do need to run for more than 81 yards. WIth the combo of Parker and Mendenhall making a 1-2 punch, these guys have to do better, but with just Mendenhall, the unit had its moments of struggles.
* There were a couple of drops, and while it came mostly from the young guys, you can’t go dropping balls when it counts.
* Penalties continue to frustrate. The team had six for 40 yards, the biggest being another dumb delay of game penalty. It was the third delay of game penalty so far this preseason, which is tough to see from a veteran unit that should not have these issues at anytime of the season.