Taking on the Philadelphia Eagles in their first preseason game, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ opening drive was 52 yards in 16 plays using a total of 9:48 of clock. Quite the unusual opening drive for the first preseason game of the year.
Ben Roethlisberger went 7 for 8 with 49 yards in the air. The ground game was effective as well, including a 4 and 1 pick up after a strange challenge by the Eagles.
The focus was up front, the same place it has been all camp. The Steelers first two draft picks, David DeCastro and Mike Adams both started the game.
DeCastro showed why he was the top rated guard in the draft early on. All the pieces of a natural guard are there. He had a big matchup against the Eagles first round pick Fletcher Cox.
Adams on the other hand had a rough go. He gave up a sack early on and gave up a strip sack on the second series before being pulled. Early reports say he suffered a right knee injury.
The left tackle is the most important in pass game for right handed Big Ben. Adams struggled with the wide pass rushers. He has the long arms to reach players, but couldn’t land his punch.
He also drifted into the quarterback’s drop not giving him self any space to recover. Luckily both are easily fixed.
Even if Adams fixes his problems, the team will be better when Max Starks is off the pup list.
On the other side of the ball nose tackle Steve McLendon got the start with Casey Hampton still on the pup list.
McLendon picked up a sack on Vick in the Eagles first possession. Vick, being as elusive as he is, had no where to run. McLendon has an effective bull rush but the most impressive part was how he stayed in his rush lane.
Early preseason games are tough to judge anything. You have to take what happens with a grain of salt and learn from the experiences. The big story will continue to be how the o-line can protect Roethlisberger.
Notes: Mike Vick, the glass man that he is, may have injured his hand in his second series of the game. Al Woods almost scored a touchdown on an interception and he’ll probably never get close again.