The Pittsburgh Steelers lost their third straight of the preseason, falling to the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime 26-20. The third preseason game is the most important of all the preseason games, the starter’s play a significant amount of time and it almost feels as if the regular season has arrived. Here’s a break down of the Steelers performance against the Chiefs.
The Steelers offense finally looked like it was finding some kind of groove. The first team offense hadn’t scored a touchdown in the previous two preseason games but found the end zone for the first time against Kansas City. Ben Roethlisberger did what he does best, escaped pressure and found an open Jonathan Dwyer for the score. Roethlisberger also found Antonio Brown on a deep ball and delivered a perfect throw to Emmanuel Sanders that would have resulted in a touchdown had Sanders not bobbled the pass when he was tackled. Roethlisberger looked sharp along with the first team receivers. Brown should have no problem fulfilling the role as the number one receiver going into the season, he continues to perform very well in each game.
The second team offense also found the end zone a task they too couldn’t achieve in the first two preseason games. Bruce Gradkowski found Markus Wheaton on a 34-yard touchdown reception.
Jonathn Dwyer got the go-ahead to be the starter in the backfield. Isaac Redman, Le’Veon Bell and LaRod Stephens-Howling did not play in this game. Stephens-Howling not participating tells us a lot more about the recent trade to acquire Felix Jones.
Dwyer didn’t look too spectacular but performed adequately. Dwyer caught a touchdown pass to score the first touchdown of the game but didn’t really open anyone’s eyes beyond that. Newly added running back, Jones saw the field for the first time with the black and gold. Jones appears to have quick feet and could provide something going into the season if he can earn a roster spot. We’ll have to see more out of Jones before really assessing what he’s made of. For now the running game will still remain a big question mark.
A main concern after the loss to Washington was the offensive line. The offensive line looked slightly better than they did against the Redskins. There’s still a lot work to be done for this offensive line. The Steelers should be thankful Roethlisberger can move the way he does because the offensive line isn’t showing signs they’ll be consistently solid this season.
The defense for the Steelers had another solid night. Early on in the game the defense looked great in the red zone, including a great goal line stand. Troy Polamalu played a great game and this is very encouraging headed into the season. A lot of questions surrounded Polamalu on whether or not he could be the same player of past seasons. He was all over the field and seemed to have that “Polamlau spark” we all want to see. He even came up with a fumble recovery during the third quarter.
Another player who looked great was Cortez Allen. Watching him play, you wouldn’t have known he’s missed a lot of training camp due to an injury. Allen’s performance was solid and the defense will definitely need his talents this season. Hopefully he can perform at a high level when the regular season rolls around.
One key injury was Jarvis Jones. The rookie linebacker left the game with an apparent chest injury. Reports indicated the rookie was taken to a Pittsburgh hospital for more evaluation. Hopefully it won’t be anything serious, this young man has a bright future this season.
I believe the defense could be on the path to a very promising season if they continue at the rate they’re going.
This is easily the worst aspect of the Steelers game through the preseason. The special team woes continued against the Cheifs. Woes that included a blocked field goal and a 109-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. The special teams needs to improve and fast. These mistakes on special teams will haunt the Steelers all season and will no doubt lead to close games ending in a loss.
The Steelers still didn’t have enough to walk away with a victory Saturday night and will try to get a “W” against the Carolina Panthers to close out the preseason. The regular season is almost here and the Steelers will need to fully find their offense, keep performing on a high level when it comes to the defense and fix major problems with the special teams.
UPDATE: Jarvis Jones was released from the hospital today and the test on his chest injury came back negative.