The final score of this game was 38-7 in favor of the Steelers. But the Steelers aren't winners right now. Their projected starting right guard and first round draft pick, David DeCastro, was carted off the field with a knee injury in the first quarter. The Steelers may be forced to go into 2012 without a solid answer at either tackle position or right guard.
In any case, the third preseason game is the dress rehearsal, and while the players got together to play some real football, so is it time to return to recapping Steeler games and getting into final preparations for the regular season. Jump and read on about Saturday night's contest.
Some kicker with a robotic cannon leg booms the kickoff out of the end zone. Bills are apparently talking about keeping him on the roster just for that. The Bills are the kind of team that would maximize the talent available to them by carrying two kickers, we suppose.
Antonio Brown drops a pass. This would plague the starters for much of the first half.
Lawrence Timmons blitzes and destroys Fitzpatrick. The football bounces between like 9 players, most notably LaMarr Woodley, and it hits the turf. Drops everywhere.
Brian Moorman does what he does and the Steelers start in the shadow of their own goal line.
Isaac Redman gets helped off the field and your first thought is, "oh no, not Redman, how could you get hurt right now? This is the worst thing that could possible happen." Then the football gods came at you with a finishing move.
Mike Tomlin called DeCastro's knee injury "potentially severe." When you fall down clutching your knee and eventually get carted off the field, your season is unlikely to happen. This is what marks a win or loss in a preseason game. Not the final score, but survival. DeCastro may not have survived. Huge loss for the team if he can't play this year.
However, it may not be as much of a loss for DeCastro. The Steelers have never made a habit of starting rookies, and while DeCastro may be the best player at his position, a year on IR (worst case scenario here) would have him attending every offensive meeting, watching all the game film with teammates and coaches, and acclimating himself to everything off the field in the pro game. It could still be a very productive year for DeCastro, even if it isn't with on-field contributions.
Oh, and the Bills score at some point. Whatever. 7-0.
Redman gets back in the game. You breathe a sigh of relief. Ben makes a beautiful timing throw to Antonio Brown. On consecutive plays, Redman blasts through a mass of flailing arms. He goes down in the open field instead of taking a hit, and in the preseason, that is 100% okay to do for a guy with a guaranteed roster spot, especially after an injury scare on the last drive.
A reserve defensive back wearing #29 downs a punt inside the 1 yard line for the Steelers.
After an entire commercial break, the Bills are ready to run their next play. Chan Gailey stops everything to challenge the spot of the punt.
Seriously? Dude, it's the preseason. See what your team can do when backed up against the goal line. The high school referees reverse the play and call it a touchback.
Chidi Iwuoma would have made the play.
Ziggy Hood makes a Keisel-like deflection of a pass. The Bills eventually punt and the Steelers start again from deep in their own territory.
Ben finally takes a shot downfield and Emmanuel Sanders drops the pass. Sanders is quietly having a pretty unimpressive preseason.
Woodley drops another INT. Fitzpatrick tries to take off up the middle and Ziggy Hood crashes down on him.
The replacement officials call a block in the back on Isaac Redman (as the Bills are punting) and after Mike Tomlin protests, they mysteriously reverse the call and say it's against the Bills. Then they get together for a lengthy chat and announce that nothing ever happened and shut up.
A drive happens and the Steelers score. Isaac Redman has some unreal leg strength. He just wills himself across the goal line. 7-7.
The Bills go trips-right with their receivers and it ends predictably for the Steelers' inexperienced DBs. The Bill Stull Bills Staal Bills stall and punt.
The fifth inning of the Bucs game ends as the Bills down a punt inside the 5 again. Brian Moorman is good at his job.
The Steelers run up the middle a few times and then surprise everyone with a downfield shot to Jon Dwyer of all people. Then a shot over the middle to Cothcery. Then Sanders. Then Miller.
Suddenly the Steelers are set up at the Bills' 11 with 25 seconds left. Ben runs it himself and makes a beautiful throw behind a Bills defender to Antonio Brown. 14-7.
What a gorgeous play. Those two are starting to click; you can feel it.
Edmund Nelson ate some meat. The rest of Pittsburgh swtiched over to Root Sports.
Vince Young is still in the league, apparently, and he takes the field for the Bills.
Unfortunately for him, real football players are still in the game. PICKED OFF. Dorin Dickerson was the intended receiver.
Byron Leftwich cocks the gun and launches a cruise missle into the end zone. It hits Antonio Brown perfectly in stride. 21-7.
That is an awesome play call after a turnover. Hopefully LeBeau's defense gets the turnovers and Haley's offense capitalizes on them right away. That happens in a real game, it breaks the other team.
Cortez Allen makes a solid defensive play on a ball down the sideline. He times his jump better than the intended receiver and knocks the ball away.
The starters fade out of the game and the Steelers' defense becomes a showcase of the young lineman and linebackers.
At some point Young tries to take off up the middle but the defensive lineman break from their blocks and eat him alive for a sack.
Cortez Allen makes another play on a shot downfield. Showing some real athleticism.
Leftwich hooks up with Brown again for a big play. He is a special player.
Bob Pompeani starts going on about Jim Irsay going on about Mike Wallace getting traded to Indianapolis. #JimmIrsayy
Vince Young continues his tour of mediocrity. Meanwhile, Jason Grilli shuts down the Milwaukee Brewers.
The guys in for the Steelers at this point are going to make the team. They're backups. The fourth quarter will tell us whose dreams are getting crushed on Monday.
David (?) Gilreath gets a chance on a reverse. After a big showing against Indianapolis, he has a shot at that fifth WR position.
Derrick Williams scores a touchdown. Not going to lie, we were watching the 9th inning of the Pirates game at this point. Joel Hanrahan > Ryan Mundy
Williams makes another nice catch later. Daniel Hrapmann boots a field goal. 31-7
Vince Young sucks.
Chris Rainey shifts into that Reggie-Bush gear when he cuts on a defender and rockets into the end zone. Excellent individual play. He is going to be a big part of the offense this year.
That's pretty much all. There aren't going to be a ton of surprises when cuts are made Monday, if we had to guess.
- Easily the most encouraging part of the game was seeing Ben run the two-minute drill in the first half. Didn't look like there was a big conflict between he and Todd Haley there.
- The defense forced some turnovers. Would have had more if LaMarr Woodley clamped his hands on some of those balls.
- No idea why they fired Al Everest, and also don't even care.
- Next game is all about dudes fighting for their lives