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
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. After an extremely questionable ‘targeting’ personal foul on the Steelers, Brett Hundley was able to scamper around, elude pressure, and run the ball in for a 10-yard touchdown. The score gave Green Bay a 24-14 lead with 14:16 left in the second quarter.
After another Jordan Berry punt, Green Bay continued to move the football on the Steelers’ defense who was missing only Joe Haden, Cameron Heyward and Sean Davis. However, when Hundley moved the ball into Pittsburgh territory a Bud Dupree blind-side sack forced Green Bay to settle for another Mason Crosby field goal, making the score 27-14.
While it took almost an entire half, the Steelers defense finally forced a Green Bay punt, but Rudolph was under siege every drop back and after two sacks Pittsburgh was forced to punt yet again.
Jordan Berry’s pitiful night continued with a 28-yard punt, and DeShone Kizer moved Green Bay easily down the field for the eventual one-yard touchdown pass to Robert Tonyan to give Green Bay 34 first half points, and a 34-14 lead.
The second half started without much fan fare, at least for the Steelers. After the Pittsburgh defense forced a punt on the opening drive, Joshua Dobbs followed Mason Rudolph’s script to start and threw a pick-six to extend Green Bay’s lead 41-14 early in the 3rd quarter.
Dobbs bounced back nicely from his rough start, and was able to hit rookie James Washington for a high-pointing touchdown grab to cap off a nice drive.
Whoa. pic.twitter.com/0VyVngy9qp— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 17, 2018
After the score, Mike Tomlin elected to go for two, and Dobbs was able to run the football in on a read option to make the score 41-22 about midway through the third quarter.
When you thought things might settle down for the Steelers’ defense, the team surrendered an 82-yard catch-and-run touchdown to Jake Kumerow, again extending the Green Bay lead 48-22 with over 9-minutes remaining in the third quarter.
After several punts were exchanged, Dobbs finally was able to lead the Steelers down to score, but this time it was a rushing touchdown by rookie Jaylen Samuels. Pittsburgh would again go for the two-point conversion, but fail, making the score 48-28 heading into the fourth quarter.
After another Green Bay field goal, it was James Washington who continued to impress. While the rest of the team seemed to mail it in, Washington was showcasing his ability to make difficult catches. In the fourth quarter Joshua Dobbs threw Washington’s way from the 22-yard line and Washington was able to wrestle the ball away from the defender, for his second touchdown of the game.
5 catches— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 17, 2018
The Steelers went for the two-point conversion, again, but failed, making the score 51-34. That score would hold for the final.
The Steelers’ 2018 preseason record is now 1-1, and they will host the Tennessee Titans at Heinz Field next Saturday in Week 3. Expect the Steelers to have many of their starters, including Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown, back on the field for the game many consider the ‘final dress rehearsal’ leading up to the regular season.
Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they approach the games which really count in September.