The 2018 NFL Preseason continued on Thursday, and the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers squared off at fabled Lambeau Field and plenty of starters were missing from the lineup.
Without Ben Roethlisberger starting for Pittsburgh, it was Mason Rudolph who got the start, and it was a forgettable start. After Roosevelt Nix returned the kickoff, Rudolph’s first snap, and pass, resulted in a pick-six to Tremon Williams. After the Mason Crosby point-after the Packers held an early 7-0 lead.
Unfortunately, Rudolph’s next series was equally uneventful and ended with a 3-and-out, forcing Jordan Berry onto the field for his first punt of the contest. Berry’s punt traveled just 30-yards, giving Aaron Rodgers the football at the Pittsburgh 40-yard line.
On second down, Rodgers hit Devonte Adams on a quick slant for a big gain of 27, moving Green Bay into the red-zone with ease. On 3rd-and-5, Rodgers hit Jimmy Graham for the Green Bay touchdown to extend their early lead. Another Crosby point-after put Green Bay up 14-0 with 11:53 left in the opening frame.
For Pittsburgh’s next possession, it was all James Conner to start. Two big runs, aided by a personal foul face mask penalty, quickly moved the offense into Green Bay territory.
The run that set it up. pic.twitter.com/rlxDx29vp9— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 17, 2018
Conner single-handedly got the Steelers on the board in just over a minute after he plunged into the end-zone to put Pittsburgh on the field.
Good luck stopping @JamesConner_ #PITvsGB pic.twitter.com/Khjpe7x3ig— NFL (@NFL) August 17, 2018
Backup kicker Matt Wile tacked on the extra point, making the score 14-7.
On the ensuing kickoff rookie Terrell Edmunds forced a fumble, and recovered the football, giving Pittsburgh the ball just outside the red-zone.
Then @rell_island6 stole the kickoff back for the good guys. pic.twitter.com/URcsuZs6VJ— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 17, 2018
A Rudolph pass to Jesse James, then a touchdown pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster and just like that the game was tied, 14-14.
First NFL career TD pass for @Rudolph2Mason ✅— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 17, 2018
First Lambeau Leap for @TeamJuJu ✅
PIT 14 | GB 14 pic.twitter.com/ncYEjgCxRK
Brett Hundley entered the game for Aaron Rodgers on the next drive, and Hundley, aided by a Jon Bostic pass interference penalty, moved the Packers into Pittsburgh territory, but had to settle with a Mason Crosby field goal to give the Packers the slim lead 17-14 with 4:30 left in the first quarter.
Rudolph’s next drive featured a lot of Fitzgerald Toussaint, but on the cusp of field goal range Mike Tomlin elected to go for it on 4th-and-5, but Rudolph’s completed pass to James Washington was short of the sticks and gave Green Bay the football.
The Packers have the ball in the red-zone at the end of the first quarter.