Preseason games in the NFL aren't win-win situations, but are often the keys to teams determining their final rosters and getting real-time reads on the progress their players have made over the offseason. Against the New York Giants on Saturday night at Met Life Stadium, the Pittsburgh Steelers showed that they aren't in panic-mode, but are in a formative stage in their development.
One thing the Steelers do not want to repeat is their 2013 preseason where they went winless due to defeats to the Giants (18-13), the Washington Redskins (24-13), the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime (26-20) and the Carolina Panthers (25-10). What followed was an 0-4 start to the regular season that hurt the Steelers mentally and physically. The Steelers want to win games in the preseason because, whether they count against a record or not, they show that a team is in sync and prepared to learn how to put together success together.
When asked if he got what he was wanting from his team, Steelers head coach admitted, "I'm less concerned about style points and more concerned about the bottom line. My emphasis in that regard was geared toward winning. We didn't get the job done, so even if it was above the line, it's going to have to be better."
The Steelers were an inferior team, situationally, against the Giants, allowing for poor third-down conversions that stalled their offense, went 0-2 in the red zone and watched as the defense melted down. After kicker Shaun Suisham was able to put the first points on the board for the Steelers with a field goal, the Giants took a 73-yard run by Rashad Jennings to the end zone. The Giants secondary was able to limit running back Dri Archer on a big 46-yard reception from Ben Roethlibserger during a 70-yard field goal drive by Pittsburgh.
The outcome may have been different if the Steelers had allowed their first team to stay on the field longer, but again, preseason is the best opportunity to see what the guys behind the 'starters' have to show. Unfortunately, the Steelers' defense had some issues as did young receivers Derek Moye and Martavis Bryant.
“There were some positives, some negatives, some things to build upon moving forward,” said Tomlin. “We’ll look at the tape in an effort to get better. People had an opportunity to grow, and we learned some things about some people. We’ll just take this as part of the process and move forward as a team.”
Ramon Foster (OL) was forced out of the game after being poked in the eye during the first quarter