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Insider Only Eagles 24 – Steelers 23: Breaking down 1st team offense & Post-Game Observations

PHILADELPHIA 24 – PITTSBURGH 23

The Pittsburgh Steelers dropped their first preseason game, losing to the Philadelphia Eagles 24-23 on Thursday night. Eagles kicker Alex Henery kicked a 51-yard field goal with 12 seconds left to lift the Eagles to victory.
The Steelers controlled the play and game early on, leading 13-0 at the half but the Eagles connected on touchdown passes of 70 and 44 yards in the second half, en route to a 24 point second half.
For the Steelers, Emmanuel Sanders had a 2 yard touchdown reception from Byron Leftiwch in the second quarter and Chris Rainey had a 57 yard reception in the third quarter.
Shaun Suisham hit field goals of 46 and 31 yards, and Danny Hrapmann kicked a 43 yard field goal with a 1:57 left in the 4th quarter to give the Steelers a 23-21 lead.

1st Team Offense

Ben Roethlisberger and the first team offense went one series, sustaining a long 16 play – 52 yard drive, taking up 9:48 time of possession with the drive resulting in a Shaun Suisham 46 yard field goal.
What we saw from Roethlisberger and the first team during their one series together was what new offensive coordinator Todd Haley has been emphasizing since day 1 of camp: High percentage passes (swing, dump offs, short), few risks through the air, physicality, with a good dose of running plays
On the drive Pittsburgh attempted 10 passing plays (sacked twice) as Roethlisberger was 7 of 8 for 49 yards, averaging 6.1 yards per pass. Roethlisberger began the game 5-for-5 and had completions of 5, 7, 6, 7, 8, 17, and -1 yards. His longest completion of the drive was a 17 yard pass to Emmanuel Sanders on a 3rd and 11 at the Eagles 44. Five of Roethlisberger’s completions went to running backs/fullbacks.
It was a conservative game plan, emphasizing physicality and in the passing game dump offs to the backs and Roethlisberger getting the ball quickly out of his hands but due to how bad the offensive line was, we saw vintage Roethlisberger at times with the pocket collapsing, extending the play on a number of occasions.
PLAY BY PLAY BREAKDOWN FOR 1ST SERIES
1st and 10 at PIT 20: Roethlisberger opened up the game with a swing pass to Isaac Redman to Pittsburgh 25 for 5 yards
2nd and 5 at PIT 25: Handoff to Redman left to Pittsburgh 27 for 2 yards
3rd and 3 at PIT 27: Pittsburgh completes a third down completion as Roethlisberger with a short pass left to David Johnson to Pittsburgh 34 for 7 yards
1st and 10 at PIT 34: Handoff to Redman up the middle to Pittsburgh 39 for 5 yards
2nd and 5 at PIT 39: Roethlisberger with another high percentage pass short left to David Johnson to Pittsburgh 45 for 6 yards
1st and 10 at PIT 45: Brown goes in motion in the backfield and Roethlisberger hits Brown for a quick out to Philadelphia’s 48 for 7 yards.
2nd and 3 at PHI 48: LT Mike Adams beat badly as Roethlisberger is sacked by Phillip Hunt at Pittsburgh 46 for -6 yards
3rd and 9 at PIT 46 (Shotgun): Adams gets pushed around as pocket collapses and Roethlisberger scrambles completing a pass to Chris Rainey to Philadelphia 46 for 8 yards.
4th and 1 at PHI 46: Handoff to Redman left tackle to Philadelphia 43 for 3 yards
1st and 10 at PHI 43: Redman left end to Phialdelphia 39 for 4 yards
2nd and 6 at PHI 39: Maurkice Pouncey is beat inside and Roethlisberger is sacked at Philadelphia 44 for -5 yards
3rd and 11 at PHI 44 (Shotgun): With the pocket collapsing once again, Roethlisberger scrambles and completes a 17 yard pass to Emmanuel Sanders to Philadelphia 27 for 17 yards
1st and 10 at PHI 27: Handoff to Redman right side to Philadelphia 27 for no gain
2nd and 10 at PHI 27: Roethlisberger pass incomplete deep to Emmanuel Sanders near right sideline.
3rd and 10 at PHI 27 (Shotgun): Roethlisberger pressured, dumps ball off to Redman to Philadelphia 28 for -1 yards
4th and 11 at PHI 28: Shaun Suisham kicks 46 yard field goal to give Steelers 3-0 lead

POST-GAME OBSERVATIONS

***Left Tackle Mike Adams left the game with a knee injury but before exiting the game, Adams play was nothing to write home about. Adams was victimized all game by former CFL star Phillip Hunt who showed finesse and power from the outside that Adams just couldn’t compete with. On the Steelers first play of their second drive at their own 30, Adams was beaten by Hunt for an 8 yard sack that resulted in a fumble and Adams didn’t even get a hand on him during the play. Aside from struggling with Hunt’s speed, what caught my eye was Adams getting bull rushed physically at the line and the scouting report on him coming into the draft was that he isn’t physically strong enough to be a starter right off the bat……Meanwhile, David DeCastro fared better but wasn’t a standout by any means. On a sack from Brandon Graham, DeCastro made failed to give Trai Essex help leading to the sack.
***The Steelers defensive line is going to be much more athletic this season with Steve McLendon inside, who has been a camp sensation so far and his play in practices transferred to the stadium tonight where he had 3 tackles and a seven yard sack of Mike Vick on the third play of the game. McLendon led the Steelers with 2 tackles for loss.
***Defensive end Al Woods continues to make noise as a serious player for a roster spot, getting a 52 yard interception. He was a beneficiary tonight of Brett Keisel (excused), Cam Heyward (back) not playing and in practice earlier in the week as he’s moved up the depth chart.
*** LOLB Brandon Johnson had not been much of a factor in camp but was tonight against the Eagles. He got constant pressure to the quarterback and was reading the play very well tonight. Two plays that stood out, highlighting Johnson’s playmaking ability was Johnson pressuring quarterback Mike Kafka that led to an Al Woods 52 yard interception return and a 3 yard tackle for loss on a Mike Vick to LeSean McCoy screen pass in the second quarter. Johnson put himself in the mix for a backup depth spot tonight.
***Second year cornerback Curtis Brown showed some great closing speed on defending the pass at times but he had an up and down game and showed awful ball awareness getting beat deep by Mardy Gilyard for an 44 yard touchdown pass in 1-on-1 coverage. It was a situation he has to make a play on…..
*** What I’ve been hearing all summer from Steelers officials is that the key player to the Steelers running game is going to be Jonathan Dwyer who the Steelers envision getting 8-to-12 tough carries a game and Dwyer again showed the ability tonight to break long runs with a 33 yard run up the middle early in the second quarter. Dwyer had 40 yards on 2 carries and unfortunately left the game in the second quarter with a shoulder injury but is a minor one.
***Chris Rainey flashed his big-play ability in the receiving department, with a 57 yard touchdown reception in the 3rd quarter with a pass in the flat. Getting him the ball in the flat and in the middle of the field will be an emphasis for the offense.
ROLB Chris Carter didn’t make the box score but showed more signs tonight that he’s getting a good grasp of the position in year 2. A play that stood out for me was on the Eagles second play of the game where McCoy ran left end and Carter had an excellent angle forcing McCoy to the outside and Larry Foote came bursting through for a two yard loss.

TOMLIN SPEAK

Tomlin on the game: “There were some positives but obviously we fell short in a lot of areas. Too many errors, physical, mental….. we’ll deal with it, {but} we won’t accept it. Liked effort overall from group but we got a lot of work to do.”
Tomlin on Chris Rainey: “He did some good things tonight. He’s got some growth, some details things, some assignment things but obviously he provided a splash or two for us in football game.”
Tomlin on David DeCastro, Mike Adams: “I thought they represented themselves well at times….At least from assignment standpoint that they were above the line.” “They were beat physically some, but that’s life in the National Football League. I am sure they will take the lessons learned in that stadium tonight and build upon it.”
Tomlin on offense possessing the ball: “It was good start but just that, a start. We desire to finish everything we do and we didn’t finish the job tonight and that probably burns in my mind right now.”
Tomlin on getting beat for deep passes: “Curtis Brown was there to make a play on it and he’s just gotta make a play on it, ” Tomlin said on Gilyard’s 44 yard TD

STATS WRAPUP

Passing: Jerrod Johnson  3-6, 93 yards, 15.5 avg, 1 touchdown, 3 sacks -26 yards | Ben Roethlisberger  7-8, 49 yards, 6.1 avg, 2 sacks -11 yards | Byron Leftiwch  3-5, 14 yards, 2.8 avg, 1 touchdown, 2 sacks -20 yards
Rushing: Baron Batch  19 car – 41 yards | Jonathan Dwyer  2 car – 40 yards | Jerrod Johnson  3 car – 26 yards | Ike Redman 5 car – 14 yards | John Clay 5 car – 8 yards | Chris Rainey 4 car – 1 yard
Receiving: Chris Rainey 2 rec – 65 yards | Tyler Beiler 1 rec – 30 yards | Antonio Brown 2 rec – 21 yards | Emmanuel Sanders 2 rec – 19 yards | David Johnson 2 rec – 13 yards | Brandon Johnson 1 rec – 6 yards | Ike Redman 2 rec – 4 yards

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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