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Winners and losers from Steelers 20-16 loss to the Giants in Preseason Week 1

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Some fairly obvious choices of the best and worst of the Steelers' preseason-opening loss to the New York Giants.

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Sean Spence - This barely needs to be explained, but it can't be stated enough; Spence didn't just come back from a significant injury, he was the best Steelers defensive player on the field. An emotional comeback but inspiring play in the game suggests he's more than just a happy tale. He's a legitimate component of this defense.

Markus Wheaton - He looked significantly more comfortable and confident in what he was doing. He ran a nice route and was one of the few recipients of an accurate Bruce Gradkowski pass (more on him in a minute), hauling in a third down conversion. He also ran well behind tight end Heath Miller on an end-around in the first quarter.

Vic So'oto and Howard Jones - We're giving both of them a nod here for a heads-up play on both their parts. They also represent other players who were present when So'oto batted away a lateral from Giants quarterback Curtis Painter. Recognizing it was a live ball, Jones scooped it up and ran it in for the Steelers only touchdown of the game.


Martavis Bryant - He drew two obvious defensive pass interference penalties, which is nice, but is really more on the defender than in favor of Bryant. He also muffed two punts - very likely and hopefully the last two he attempts in his Steelers career - dropped a pass on the final drive and was stripped of the ball when, upon covering the fumble, gave the Giants the win. It was just a horrifying debut for the Steelers' fourth round pick.

Bruce Gradkowski - It didn't appear as if the Steelers back-up quarterback could hit water if he fell out of a boat. He missed on five throws he should have been made, including what would have been a touchdown throw to an open Matt Spaeth. It's hard to overthrow the 6-foot-7 Spaeth, but Gradkowski provided even more concern around the idea of Ben Roethlisberger getting injured.

Lawrence Timmons - It's the preseason, sure, but Timmons missed three tackles and was outshined by Spence and Vince Williams in this game. Considering the rookie Ryan Shazier is on the bench, it isn't normal the veteran generates the negative feeling while the young players generate the buzz.