Sunday night the Steelers fell in Denver for the first time in the preseason, dropping a rather lackluster game 34-17. Below are the good and the bad from a game that the Steelers and their fans would like to rather forget.
1. The Steelers franchise QB was the best of the bunch, as Ben Roethlisberger was 4-for-6 for 67 yards. While the other three QB’s bumbled and stumbled at points in their game, Roethlisberger was the only Steeler QB to really have the offense under control. His first pass to Mike Wallace was a thing of beauty, and about the only downfall to his night was the team not scoring on their first drive. Ben looks ready, it’s a shame he’ll be gone four weeks.
2. Another running back stepped up, as Jonathan Dwyer, the Steelers rookie back, played the best he has at any point in camp. He rushed for 89 yards on 13 carries, a 6.8 yards per carry average with a 40-yard gain and a touchdown. The running game had 175 yards on 30 carries, and it’s a shame that some of the better carries came once the game was out of reach and a lot of people turned the game off.
3. Good to see some guys in the defensive backfield, Crezdon Butler and William Gay pick off passes. Gay picked off a Kyle Orton pass, while Butler ran back a Tim Tebow pass 40 yards to the Broncos five to set up a score. Last season the teams backfield had way too many drops, and hopefully two picks is a good sign for things to come.
1. Let’s start with the obvious, which is the two pick 6’s which turned what could have been a close game into a blowout. The first was Dennis Dixon’s mistake, which turned a 10-3 game into a 17-3 game with :11 seconds left in the half. Then while the game was likely over, Charlie Batch threw a second pick six that Syd’Quan Thompson took back 47 yards for a score that put the game totally out of reach. While Roethlisberger is out, the backup QB’s cannot make mistakes like they did in this preseason disaster.
2. It seemed like the team came out and played out of control, putting up four personal foul penalties on the night. Two went to Keenan Lewis, who likely earned a pretty strong talking to from Mike Tomlin and the other coaches. Again, if this team is going to win early in the season without Ben, stupid mistakes like free yards on penalties cannot be allowed.
3. There’s got to be concern when Byron Leftwich is in the game about the fact he can’t get away from pressure whatsoever. That happened again on Sunday night, when pressure was in on him, he was a dead duck. Same thing happened in the first preseason game against the Lions. While Dixon was sacked twice, he does a decent job getting away from pressure. The same can’t be said for Leftwich, who can’t escape anyone.