Photo via Steelers.com
So far the theme of this season seems to be “just one big drama after another.” We had “The Return of the Prodigals” in Week 1, “The Underwhelmingness of the Prodigals” in Week 2, “Insulting the Flag, Mother, and Apple Pie, Except for One Heroic Holdout” in Week 3, “Those Selfish Divas Who Only Care About Their Stats” in Week 4, and in Week 5, “Ben Throws Himself Under the Bus.” Read more
The third preseason game, the only one in which the players on the field look anything like the eventual roster, and that only for a portion of the game, is in the books. It represents the first loss of the preseason, which perhaps could be viewed as not encouraging. But let’s dig into what actually happened to find out if this is true or not.
photo via Steelers.com
The Steelers won their first game of this young (pre-)season. We all know these games are meaningless, or so we’ve been telling ourselves for the past however many years, when the Steelers have lost most of them. It might not mean much, but it’s nice to see them win one, especially under the circumstances.
As we knew going into the game, many of the starters didn’t even see the field, except where their feet might have strayed onto the turf on their way to the sidelines. Those starters on the offensive side included Ben Roethlisberger, Landry Jones (abdominal strain,) Le’Veon Bell (who of course wasn’t even there,) Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant (who was there but not playing,) James Conner (putative second back,) Maurkice Pouncey, and Alejandro Villanueva (concussion.) Did I miss anyone? Is anyone left? From last year’s starters, at least the majority of the season, the only guys on the field were Marcus Gilbert, David DeCastro, Ramon Foster, Jesse James, and Eli Rogers (if you considered him a starter.) And of course there were the extras—Xavier Grimble, Cobi Hamilton, Darrius Heyward-Bey, et al.
In other words, given they were working against the Giants’ first-team defense (with a few exceptions such as Jason Pierre-Paul) you might think the Steelers’ offense, led by the first rookie quarterback to open the preseason for a very long time, would be overmatched. And of course you would be right, although it might be just as fair to say many of the wounds were self-inflicted.