The Steelers eked out a win at home against the Seattle Seahawks. Here’s what we learned from Pittsburgh’s first exhibition game of 2022.
Look, I realize it was the first preseason game of the 2022 NFL season, but, frankly, this game should not have been as close as it was. The Steelers survived a comeback attempt by the Seattle Seahawks to gain a victory in the inaugural home game at Acrisure Stadium.
The game was not pretty but a win is a win, I suppose. We were up by fourteen points at one point in the second quarter only to see us tied late in the fourth quarter. Again, I think it is great we got the win, but did it really have to come to last-minute heroics on the defensive side of the ball to put the offense in a position to win the game?
So, let’s see what we learned on the offensive side of the ball.
The Steelers have some promising young skill position players on offense
I think it’s fair to say that George Pickens, our second-round pick in the 2022 draft, and our first-round pick, Kenny Pickett played pretty well in their debuts. According to ESPN, Pickens had three receptions on five targets for forty-three yards and a TD catch.
Pickett went thirteen for fifteen for ninety-five yards and tossed two TD passes. He was sacked twice but lead the final drive to secure victory. For the game, the Steelers offensive line gave up four sacks. It could have been worse had it not been for the scrambling ability of our quarterbacks.
I realize it’s one game, but I think the offensive line will be a liability in the passing game but should be pretty solid in the running game. We finished with one-hundred and eighty-five rushing yards on the strength of almost a seven-yard average.
Let’s see what we learned on the defensive side of the ball.
The Steelers defense was very shaky but came up big when we needed it most
To continue with the theme of this discussion, I realize it’s preseason and it was our first game; however, preseason, or not, you cannot squander a fourteen-point lead, twice. Yes, we were up fourteen points twice and squandered the lead both times.
What was even more concerning to me was this: We were able to generate only three sacks and zero interceptions. We did get a sack late in the fourth quarter that set up the offense for a game-winning drive, but considering we were playing with and against mostly backups for the whole game, the Steelers defense should have had a better showing.
I am gravely concerned about the quality of depth on both sides of the ball but particularly on the defensive side of the ball. We gave up one-hundred and fifty-nine yards on the ground and one-hundred and eighty yards through the air and gave up twenty-five points. Very concerning if you ask me.
Let’s take a look at the last thing we learned.
The Steelers may have some difficult decisions to make come cut-down day
Personally, I would not want to be Mike Tomlin on cut-down day. On the offensive side of the ball, we are fortunate enough to have playmakers at the skill positions so much so that we may have to make sacrifices meaning we may have to release a player in the hope he clears waivers, and we can sign him to the practice squad.
The position group that needs help is the offensive line. As I stated earlier in the discussion, I think we will be solid in the running game, but we struggled in pass protection. Tomlin and company must address this deficiency prior to the start of the regular season.
On the defensive side of the ball, we still cannot stop the run. Backups or not, the run defense was porous — plain and simple. Fortunately, it was only the first game, so we have some time to get it straightened out, but not an indefinite amount of time.
Again, a win is a win is a win. On to Week 2 of the preseason.