The Pittsburgh Steelers won their first preseason game of 2022 in both of the most important ways. First, and most importantly, they escaped with no serious injuries. Secondly, the final score says the Steelers won the game, even if that is irrelevant to the actual season.
But beyond the final score, how did the Steelers perform?
The Steelers ran the ball for 185 yards, averaging 6.85 yards per rush for the game. That’s a big improvement over the 2021 Steelers run game, and it wasn’t just late game success either. The Steelers started Anthony McFarland Jr. and he ran for 56 yards on 7 carries against most of the first team defense of the Seahawks. Mitch Trubisky led the Steelers on an opening drive touchdown without any skill position starters from 2021 playing.
Mason Rudolph shook off a sack and a hostile crowd to throw an incredible pass to George Pickens for a 26-yard touchdown. The pass protection needs to be better, and some of the bottom of the depth chart receiver combinations were rough, but the offense was down a lot of star power, moved the ball anyway and scored four touchdowns. Hard to grade this group harshly when they averaged 3.2 points per drive.
Honor Roll: George Pickens, Kenny Pickett, Connor Heyward.
Demerits: Pass protection, fumble by Jaylen Warren.
Final Grade: A
The defense gave up 25 points to the Seahawks, but it wasn’t that bad. Chris Wormley and Delontae Scott were bullied on a few run plays, but outside of that the Steelers starting defense, which had zero starters at outside linebacker or on the defensive line, played very well.
The Seahawks were held to 3 points in their first four possessions, setting up a nice Steeler lead. When Seattle drove for a touchdown at the end of the first half, it was their starting offensive line against the Steelers third string defensive line, and the Steelers had taken the few starters that played this game out. They lost that battle, but I’m not going to weigh that as much as the earlier drives. The Steelers defense also struggled when Mark Robinson and Buddy Johnson took over at linebacker. Mark Robinson helped offset his struggles when he stripped Drew Lock to give the Steelers the ball back with a bit over one minute left in the game, but before that the depth linebackers did not look good.
The secondary had a few lapses, most notably Carlins Platel’s missed tackle on Bo Melton, but held the Seahawks receivers in check most of the game.
Honor Roll: Myles Jack, Arthur Maulet, Tre Norwood.
Demerits: Backup inside linebackers, third and fourth string defensive lineman, Chris Wormley’s run defense.
Final Grade: C
The Steelers had a solid game on special teams. No kicks were missed, they averaged over 40 yards a punt, gave up no big returns and forced a fumble on punt coverage. The highlights were Myles Boykin’s timing and execution to force a fumble on an ill-advised non-fair catch by the Seahawks returner, and a fantastic double-team block that was a big part of Steven Sims’ long punt return. Neither Chris Boswell nor Pressley Harvin III played.
Honor Roll: James Pierre, Myles Boykin.
Demerits: Anthony McFarland’s two short kick returns, Cody White’s penalty on opening kickoff.
Final Grade: B
The quarterbacks all played well, the run blocking looked a lot better than what we saw last season, and with almost all of the most important starters on the bench, the Steelers won the game. Rookies Kenny Pickett, George Pickens and Connor Heyward all stood out for good reasons, while DeMarvin Leal had a pretty good game and Mark Robinson made a big splash play to offset his struggles.
Leaving the game roughly as healthy as they entered it is a big factor as well.
Final Grade: A
Now it’s your turn to tell us what you think. Vote your grade for the Steelers overall performance, and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Grade the Steelers preseason win over the Seattle Seahawks
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