It took them three weeks, but the Pittsburgh Steelers finally got a preseason victory, a 24-19 win over the Green Bay Packers at Heinz Field. See who could be labeled 'Winners' with a strong showing, and 'Losers' with a performance which left a lot to be desired.
Ben Roethlisberger - Often times you overlook what Big Ben brings to the team, but in limited action he went 11-14 for 100 yards, 1 touchdown and zero interceptions. In the young 2015 preseason, Roethlisberger has completed 14 of 17 passes with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. To say he is getting geared up for the regular season is an understatement.
Markus Wheaton - Wheaton is the team's No. 2 wide receiver for a reason, and he showed just that as he had 3 catches for 42 yards and a touchdown in an impressive performance in limited action. With Antonio Brown being Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant being the team's deep threat, it will open up big lanes for Wheaton. Sunday's performance was a huge step in the right direction for No. 11.
Shamarko Thomas - As Thomas was one of the many whipping boys by the fan base after the team's loss to the Jaguars last week, Thomas bounced back and played a solid brand of football against the Packers. Thomas lead the team with 6 tackles, one sack, one tackle for a loss and a great special teams tackle. This was the first game he and Mike Mitchell played alongside one another in the secondary, and the tandem made steps to quieting concerns about the safety position heading into the regular season.
Tyler Murphy - The former Boston College QB turned WR continued to turn heads with a tremendous performance in the second half of the game. Murphy had 4 catches on 4 targets for 61 yards and a touchdown on his resume Sunday. A tough call for the organization in regards to him making the team's 53-man roster, but as he outperformed other reserve wide outs, he is going to become a tough cut if that time comes.
Landry Jones - To not sound like a broken record, it isn't the fact Jones can't make plays, it is his consistency. Jones went 10 for 19 with 172 yards with 2 touchdowns and an interception. Jones made some tremendous throws, and also some throws which left Steelers fans wondering what he was thinking. Jones is making a case for himself to be on the team's 53-man roster, but whether that case is enticing enough, only time will tell.
Injuries - One of the worst aspects of the preseason are injuries which occur during these meaningless games. Maurkice Pouncey is going to require surgery on his injured ankle, Stephon Tuitt will be out of action for a couple weeks and the Packers had to watch Jordy Nelson possibly be lost for the year with a torn ACL. There is no bigger loser than injuries in the preseason.
Sammie Coates - Tough to put a player who had a 54-yard reception in the game on the loser list, but Coates also had two really poor drops, and like Landry Jones, struggles with consistency. This isn't news, as it was the knock on Coates coming out of Auburn, but the Steelers will want to see more consistency out of Coates before he becomes a weekly inactive on game days.
Chris Hubbard - Not every interior offensive lineman can make the switch from guard to center, and Hubbard seems like one who struggled with the transition. Hubbard was repeatedly beat in the run game, clogging up any holes which were there for the running backs, and a poor snap to Bruce Gradksowki at the end of the first half resulted in Gradkowski suffering an injury to his left hand causing him to exit the game early. Hubbard's spot on this team is as a reserve guard, certainly not at center.
The next Steelers preseason game will be next Saturday (August 29th) when they play the Buffalo Bills.