The progression from preseason Game 1 to Game 2 wasn’t nearly as grand as coach Mike Tomlin and Pittsburgh Steelers fans expected.
Seems the special teams troubles from last week were transferred to perhaps the most important unit on the team, the offensive line. Two sacks, a quarterback pressure fumble, a running back fumble and four offensive penalties – all of which negated first downs – and that was just the first-team offensive line.
The second team offensive line fared as well as they did last week, poorly, thanks once again to converted tackle Guy Whimper at guard. Whimper continued to allow second- and third-string defensive lineman to push him into the backfield.
He had a holding penalty and was at least partly to blame for both second-half sacks. Left guard Chris Hubbard did not look much better but did not cough up a sack. Makes you wonder why rookie free agent Mike Golic, Jr. has yet to play an offensive snap.
One of the biggest questions coming into this season was who would be Ben Roethlisberger’s blind side protector. Mike Adams emerged as the winner and also won the honor of this week’s biggest disappointment. His challenges in pass coverage caused two penalties.
Early in the first quarter Adams lined up next to running back Jonathan Dwyer, giving away the passing play call, and also earned a flag for illegal formation. Later, as the Steelers bared their teeth in the red zone, Adams’ failed footwork forced a bear hug of Washington linebacker Daryl Tapp. It negated a first down on the 4-yard line and brought on Shaun Suisham for the 3-pointer.
Offensive-line leader Maurkice Pouncey was a close runner-up for goat of the week. He failed to control 318-pound nose tackle Barry Cofield, allowing the big man to sack Roethlisberger. Pouncey was also penalized for illegal hands to Cofield’s face just a few plays prior to Adam’s holding penalty.
Second-team left tackle Kelvin Beachum was apparently one of the three offensive linemen who actually got off the bus in D.C. Beachum, center John Malecki, and guard Ramon Foster all improved from Week 1. Hopefully, the rest of the offensive line will follow their lead and look better again the Kansas City Chiefs this coming weekend.
It will be just the second time the Steelers starters have lined together and both Adams and right tackle Marcus Gilbert recently recovered from offseason surgeries. It’s going to be a short week for first-year offensive line coach Jerry Bicknell, Jr. and his motley crew.
Enjoy those film sessions with Tomlin, fellas. The search for the first win of the preseason continues 7:30 p.m. this Saturday at Heinz Field.