The Steelers were drubbed in their first half of play Monday night against the Washington Redskins.
Fortunately for the Steelers, their back-ups helped make the game seem competitive. The bad news is it appears the Steelers took a step backward, and with roughly three weeks until their first regular season game, it feels like they're going back to the beginning.
Pittsburgh's offensive line looked particularly poor in the game, low-lighted by center Maurkice Pouncey, who was dominated by Redskins' nose tackle Barry Cofield.
Right tackle Marcus Gilbert wasn't far from his former Florida teammate, getting whipped multiple times by Redskins defensive end Ryan Kerrigan.
Simply put, if the Redskins' defensive line is one of the greatest of all-time, and they're in regular season form, then ok. If not, the Steelers offensive line has some work to do.
The offensive in general slogged through the night under quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger and Bruce Gradkowski. The team got something of a spark under rookie QB Landry Jones, who hit rookie wide receiver Markus Wheaton on a preseason-long 45-yard pass in the third quarter. Jones would later hit Derek Moye with the Steelers' first touchdown of the preseason.
Defensively, the Steelers played well, minus a few gaffes in coverage. Rookies Jarvis Jones and Shamarko Thomas forced fumbles - Thomas's came on a thunderous hit that's perhaps a indication of what's to come. He flat-out crushed Redskins running back Chris Thompson, forcing the loose ball.
The fact two rookies made those plays is perhaps the silver lining in an otherwise careless game from the Steelers' starters.
Another rookie, running back Le'Veon Bell, had the opposite kind of night. Slowed the last week and a half by a knee injury, Bell lasted four carries in this game before leaving with a foot injury. He gained nine yards total, and didn't look strong gaining any one of them.
His status is unknown right now.
The Steelers lost their second game of this preseason, and will head back to Pittsburgh to take on the Chiefs Aug. 24.
More from Behind the Steel Curtain:
- Steelers vs. Redskins Postgame stream
- Tomlin: Officials will be at practice
- Health and stamina of Steelers to be tested over 10 days
- Steelers injury report: Running backs lead the way again
- Shamarko Thomas Steelers Digest Player of the Game
- Winners and Losers from Monday's loss
- Le'Veon Bell has 'mid-foot' injury
- Will Johnson injures hip in loss to Redskins
- Le'Veon Bell injures foot in first quarter against Washington
- 15 players on the bubble vs. Redskins
- Brown a leader to young WRs
- Madden 25 rankings for Steelers offensive players
- Polamalu healthier, wiser