The Steelers continued their winning ways to start the 2021 preseason. This time with a 24-16 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in the annual Keystone state preseason bowl. But how did each unit stack up? Below are the grades for the Steelers platoons, and how they each contributed to the victory.
The Steelers offense was pretty good all night long. The first three drives of the game were killed by penalties, but after that the unit seemed like they couldn't be stopped. Mason Rudolph got the start and only misfired on one pass, but Dwayne Haskins was the man of the match. Haskins threw the ball all over the field and led the Steelers on four scoring drives, the most impressive being when he forced the Eagles offside before launching the free play for a touchdown.
The offensive line struggled early, but the depth units took over the game. The Steelers line and rushing attack couldn't be stopped as the game grew on. Each Steelers rusher was busting carries for 10+ yards per pop by the end of the game, and those guys deserve some applause.
Rico Bussey, Anthony Johnson, and Cody White looked really good in the receiving game. Each receiver showed chemistry with Haskins and one of these guys could supplant Ray-Ray McCloud as the fifth receiver. It was also a decent day for the tight ends. While not statistically impressive, Pat Freiermuth, Kevin Rader, and Zach Gentry made some good blocks. All in all, this was a good day for the offense.
Much like the offense, the defense improved as the game went on. But unlike the offense, the defense was awful to start the game. The Steelers inside linebackers were again exposed in the passing game, most namely Robert Spillane and Ulysees Gilbert III, who watched receivers run past them all night. The Steelers even traded for Joe Schobert during the game, and you can’t convince me it wasn't related!
The defensive backs played pretty well, and newcomer Lafayette Pitts came down with a pick just a few days after signing with the Steelers, as did Justin Layne. James Pierre had another solid afternoon for himself. The safeties weren't noticeable, but Cam Sutton was beaten badly a few times. The starters need to start playing like it, and in a hurry.
The defensive line was again very good for the Steelers, and it is obvious they are the strength of this team. Isaiahh Loudermilk was a standout today, as was everyone else on the interior. On the edge, it was another great day for Alex Highsmith, but it was Jamir Jones who was the player of the day. Jones was all over the field and has become someone the Steelers would have a hard time cutting.
If weighting the grade based on the amount of projected snaps players will get in the regular season, the first unit really brought the score down.
Well, Jordan Berry is not going down with out a fight. The long time Steelers punter had one of the better games of his entire Steelers career, pinning the Eagles at the two yard line and another inside the ten. This was a good day for Berry who will live to fight another day.
Both Chris Boswell and Sam Sloman were perfect kicking the ball, and the return game really wasn't a factor whatsoever. This was a decent but quiet night for the Steelers special teams and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Another win in the Steelers’ pocket is a good thing. This group is rallying from adversity and learning how to win with one another. The evaluation of this team is coming together, and it will be interesting to watch the entire group hit the field as a collective group. As for this game, it started off as a sloppy effort and ended in a dominating win in the Steelers favor. This group needs 60 minutes of clean football, and hopefully they can provide that before the start of the regular season.
But what do you think? How would you grade this Steelers performance? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.