Well, game one of the preseason is in the books, and there are quite a bit of both good and bad that we can take from last nights game. First off, the game was delayed, and then there was a storm that forced the players to leave the field. That to me sort of made it a weird game from the start.
I must admit there were areas of the Lions that looked impressive, and three players that stuck out to me from the Lions were Kyle Vanden Bosch, rookie back Jahvid Best, and wide out Calvin Johnson. The Lions are not a Super Bowl team by any means, but they are better than the last two seasons by a big margin.
Ok, enough of that. On to the Steelers and what we learned from the game.
1. Dennis Dixon looked like the real deal at QB. He was 6 of 7 passes for 128 yards and one touchdown for a perfect passer rating of 158.3. He also ran six times for 31 yards. It’s good to know that Dixon is waiting in the wings if Byron Leftwich gets hurt of gets off to a slow start. Dixon has been anxious to show the team what he can do, and Saturday night he lived up to it.
2. RB Issac Redman made a strong push to be the backup RB for Rashard Mendenhall. While Mewelde Moore put the ball on the ground, Redman was busy doing spin moves and breaking off a big run of 31 yards. He had 60 yards on the ground, and scored on a 1-yard run. Another guy that looks like a year later has gotten better and will push for playing time.
3. Rookie WR Antonio Brown had a good night, pulling in a long TD pass from Dixon, and on the night making three grabs for 84 yards. With all the concern about the wide out spot, it was nice to see someone like Brown step up and make some plays.
4. Defense did a nice job overall in an area where they were not so good last season, and that was in stopping 3rd down conversions. The Lions were just 2-for-9 in that area. If the Steelers want to be a dominant defense again in 2010, they have got to get off the field more than they did in 2009.
1. You simply cannot expect to be a good team in the NFL and put the ball on the ground on a regular basis, and the Steelers did it twice Saturday night. Both Mendenahll and Moore fumbled, and Redman had a fumble but it was overturned. Early in the season when the team doesn’t have Ben they will rely more on the run game, and you just cannot afford to give the ball up.
2. The run defense early wasn’t very good in stopping rookie Jahvid Best, as he was able to get chunks of yards against the Steelers first-team D. That was not a good sign, and hopefully that is just a one-game thing against a back that looks to be good, instead of a trend that can’t happen if this team is going to compete.
3. The O-line I thought had a rough night, more so early again when the first teamers were in there. Flozell Adams would like to forget Saturday night, and overall there was too much traffic against Leftwich and the run lanes were not there. Again, one game, preseason, I get it. Let’s just hope that it’s an area they get corrected.
4. The rain did fans and players no favors. It felt more like a Pirates game with the delays than a football game. That’s when you get when you play preseason football in August though.