We are days away from the final 53-man rosters being set and these are the final opportunities for those players on the bubble to stand out on film as Coach Mike Tomlin evaluates his final roster. Here are some takeaways and observations from the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 19-15 preseason loss to the Indianapolis Colts Saturday night.
Landry Jones is a solid backup quarterback: Jones had a solid performance in his first game back from his abdominal injury. Jones went 21 for 31 for 163 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Although Jones did throw a late fourth quarter interception at the one yard line, which was the fault of JuJu Smith-Schuster, Jones still impressed with his handling of a two minute offense late in the first half to lead the Pittsburgh Steelers to a Chris Boswell field goal. Jones showed the poise under pressure and mobility in the pocket to demonstrate that he can be a consistent backup quarterback behind Ben Roethlisberger.
Steelers pass defense continues to have struggles: Scott Tolzien went 7 for 10 for 143 yards including a 55 yard pass to Donte Moncrief that led to a Frank Gore touchdown. Stephen Morris went 12 for 16 for 143 yards and led two first half scoring drives. The Colts scored on three of their five first half possessions and only a Ryan Shazier interception in the red zone stopped the Colts from getting more points on the board. Robert Golden struggled mightily in place of Mike Mitchell and Ross Cockrell and Coty Sensabaugh were ineffective. Another issue on defense is the pass rush. The only player that had a quarterback hit, while the starters were in the game, on the Steelers’ defense was Stephon Tuitt. These issues could be a matter of health or rust, but the pattern of bending too much is not a good pattern for the Black and Gold.
Good running back depth: Both James Conner and Terrell Watson combined for 12 carries for 66 yards on Saturday. Both players are power backs that showed good vision. If Le’Veon Bell has any mishap with injury when he comes back September 1, the Steelers will be in good hands at running back.
News and Notes
Roethlisberger went 6 for 9 for 75 yards and led the offense to a field goal in the first quarter. Roethlisberger did lose a fumble while getting sacked by John Simon on the first drive of the game.
Schuster briefly left the game with a left leg injury caught 3 passes for 31 yards. Running back Fitzgerald Toussaint was inactive due to a leg injury and is continuing to potentially slide down the depth chart with the emergence of Conner and Watson.
The Pittsburgh Steelers will conclude their preseason schedule Thursday when they will travel to Charlotte to face the Carolina Panthers. After the game the Coach Tomlin must trim their 90-man roster down to 53 and select 10 players for his practice squad.