The Steelers finished off their 2nd preseason game with a late rally lead by QB Jerrod Johnson to win the game 26-24. They are now 1-1 in exhibition, with their next game at Buffalo on Saturday, Aug 25th at 7pm. There were some nice standouts tonight for the Steelers as you’ll see here in the game recap. Jerrod Johnson, Adrian Robinson , Chris Carter, David Gilreath, and Mortty Ivy all with solid performances.
Isaac Redman did not play tonight, neither did Max Starks even though Tomlin didn’t rule them out previously.
The starters for the Steelers had what can probably be best described as an “up n down” or “inconsistent” performance overall. For every nice play their was a missed tackle, dropped pass or poor blocking attempt. Still though, it’s a progression in the preseason and we’ll look for bigger steps next week.
On the opening series there was another concerted effort to establish the run game with Jonathan Dwyer who ran hard with some nice run blocking to help. With Isaac Redman out tonight, Dwyer and Baron Batch took the bulk of the running duties in the game. JD took full advantage of his opportunity tonight with 8 carries for 43 yds. He runs much like Isaac Redman, keeping his feet churing and using some nifty footwork to break out of tackles.
Chris Rainey left the game temporarily with a possible concussion after getting popped on his first play of the night. After a short time in the locker room he returned to finish the game.
On that first Steelers possession Ben badly underthrew a pass to Antonio Brown and it was picked off by the Colts Antoine Bethea. The Steelers defensive starters forced a three and out though and the offense got the ball back.
The second series was much better as Ben hit Antonio Brown on a 57 pass that featured some nice blocking down field and even better running by Brown for the go ahead score, 7-0.
The defense stepped up the pressure on Andrew Luck on the next couple of series and ended up with a pick 6 as Ike Taylor intercepted a pass and took it 49 yds for the score, 14-0. Yes, that Ike Taylor ladies and gentlemen.
After that though, the defense went to sleep a bit and Luck drove down with some solid passing combined with poor tackling by the Steelers starters. The drive was capped off by a 1 yd TD run by Donald Brown. 14-7.
Cortez Allen picked off another Andrew Luck pass off a bobbled attempt by T.Y. Hilton of the Colts. That made two for the night, something Mike Tomlin preached a lot this week; getting more splash plays on offense and defense.
The Starters for the offense played just into the 2nd quarter. The defense played until about midway through before giving way to the backups. Andrew Luck again drove his team down for a score on a questionable slide for the touchdown. His knee appeared to be down but the replay booth didn’t quite see it that way. 14-14. Roethlisberger finished the night 5/9 for 81 yds, 1 TD, 1 Int.
After a quick 3 and out by Charlie Batch and the reserve offensive players, the Colts got the ball back and Adam Vinateri booted a 53 yd FG as time expired. 17-14 Colts at the Half.
Charlie Batch continued to start into the 3rd quarter, and after a Mortty Ivy blocked punt deep in Colts territory the Steelers got a first and goal at the 10 yd line. After a Kelvin Beachum holding penalty they were backed up and ultimately kicked a Daniel Hrapmann FG to tie it at 17.
Quick note on the two rookie offensive lineman: David DeCastro had a pretty solid game again, showing some nice run blocking skills especially. He had his share of growing pains though with following through on the block but he’s coming along nicely. Mike Adams came in and played with the 2nd teams just over a week after his knee injury. He continued to struggle in pass protection and seemed lost on many occasions out there, getting beat on both inside and outside moves. He’ll continue to get chances to improve but if Max Starks is healthy in week 1 and Adams continues to struggle, don’t be surprised to see him out there.
Drew Stanton lead the Colts on a touchdown drive that started on the 26 and culminated on a pass to Griff Whalen for the go ahead score, 24-17 with about 8 minutes to go in the 3rd.
The offense continued to struggle under Charlie Batch in the 3rd, unable to generate any significant drives until he he hit David Gilreath on a 41 yd pass after drawing the defense offsides with about 5 minutes to go in the 3rd. Gilreath continued the drive with a 3rd down catch for the conversion. The drive stalled out though at the Colts 18 and Daniel Hrapmann kicked a 39 yd FG to bring it to 24-20.
Jerrod Johnson came on in the fourth quarter to lead the offense and promptly hit Gilreath across the middle for a nice gain of 24 yds and then a quick pass to newly signed Justin Peelle for 21 yds. Follow that up with a pass to Toney Clemons to bring them into FG range for Hrapmann who booted a 43 yd FG to inch the Steelers closer, 24-23.
The defense continued to force Chandler Harnish and the Colts offense into 3rd and longs but couldn’t get off the field. Finally with 5:37 to go, Josh Victorian picked off his first NFL pass to get the Steelers the ball back.
Jerrod Johnson hit David Gilreath again for a first down and newly signed Jason Ford got the bulk of the work in the 4th quarter with some nice power running and good vision but took a hard shot in the back and was down on the field for a few minutes. Chris Rainey and Ford shared the backfield as the offense was able to milk the clock, well inside FG range with 3 minutes to go. Jerrod Johnson with a nice audible to Rainey to keep the drive going and the clock moving, followed up with a QB scramble to the Colts 1 at the 2 minute warning. The offense was able to run the clock down as the Colts burned their final time out. Ford and Rainey were unable to score but the FG kicked by Hrapmann with 23 seconds to go (partially blocked but did go through) put the Steelers ahead for good to finish out the game, 26-24.
Jerrod Johnson finished up the game with a very nice 118.8 quarterback rating, not too shabby indeed.