The Pittsburgh Steelers kicked off the 2018 preseason the right way, going against the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles in the city of brotherly love. While the all-Pennsylvania contest was lacking the star power of Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Carson Wentz, among others as they took the meaningless game off.
Nonetheless, just because the outcome is ultimately meaningless doesn’t mean the game itself is. Players looking to make the team, and rookies trying to make a name for themselves, put it all on the line for their respective teams.
The Steelers started with the football, and Landry Jones was under center to begin the game. After a successful run by James Conner, a Fletcher Cox sack of Jones pushed the Steelers back into their own zone, and Jordan Berry got his first action of the game.
It didn’t take the Steelers long to get the ball back after Coty Sensabaugh picked off Eagles backup quarterback Nate Sudfeld to give the Steelers tremendous field position. The field position would be for naught after another sack of Jones pushed Pittsburgh out of field goal range.
After a long drive, the Eagles had to punt the ball back to Pittsburgh and the Steelers made them play. After a James Conner first down run, Landry Jones’ hard count drew the Eagles offsides. The free play resulted in a huge 71-yard touchdown pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster. Chris Boswell added the extra point to make it 7-0.
Joshua Dobbs started the second quarter for the Steelers, but in his first drive was unable to muster a first down.
After a very poor 25-yard punt by Jordan Berry, Nate Sudfeld drove the Eagles down the field and hit Dallas Goedert for the Philadelphia touchdown. After a defensive drive which was highlighted by missed tackles, a pre-snap penalty on the extra point changed Doug Pederson’s mind, and he went for the two-point conversion from the 1-yard line. The Eagles were successful and took the lead 8-7.
Aided by a personal foul on third-and-long, Joshua Dobbs and Fitzgerald Toussaint orchestrated a nifty drive with the second string which resulted in a Toussaint touchdown. Pittsburgh went for two, and Toussaint was successful to give the Steelers a 15-8 lead, but the offense was helped out by three automatic penalties on the Eagles during the drive.
Sudfeld took over for the Eagles again, and the Steelers recorded their second interception of the game, this one by Cameron Sutton. The interception gave Dobss and company the football on the 35-yard line. On the following play, Dobbs gave the ball right back by throwing an interception of his own.
With new life, Sudfeld wasted little time hitting a huge touchdown over Dashaun Phillips for 63-yards. After another pre-snap penalty by the Steelers on the point-after, Philadelphia chose to go for two again, but failed. At the two-minute warning, the Steelers clung to a 15-14 lead.
Dobbs took over the two-minute drill, and put together a phenomenal drive capped off by a tremendous catch by Damoun Patterson to extend the Steelers’ lead. Boswell’s point-after made the score 22-14 Pittsburgh heading into halftime.
The Pittsburgh defense went on the field to start the third quarter, and it didn’t take long for Olasunkanmi Adeniyi came off the edge and stripped the ball away from Joe Callahan, and the Steelers were able to recover the loose football. However, when Mason Rudolph entered the game for the first time in his professional career, they were back-to-back Stevan Ridley runs before having a pass dropped. The team had to settle for a Boswell field goal to extend the lead 25-14.
After several punts by both teams, Mason Rudolph started to settle in. The biggest play he made was to, surprise surprise, James Washington. After drawing the Philadelphia defense offsides, the Washington completion moved the Steelers into Boswell field goal range. The kick was good when the drive stalled, making the score 28-14.
In the fourth quarter Mason Rudolph really started to settle in. The offensive line was giving him time to throw, and the timing routes were there, on time, and accurate. On his first drive of the final frame, Rudolph had the offense moving before an offsides penalty tempered the drive, resulting in another Boswell field goal to make the score 31-14 with 8:54 left in regulation.
When the dust settled, that would be the final score of this Week 1 preseason contest. As for the Steelers, their 2018 preseason record is now 1-0, and their next game will be next Thursday, August 16th, against the Packers in Green Bay.
Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes regarding the black-and-gold.