The Ugly: Reserve Offensive Line Play
It's the natural order of things in the preseason. Backup offensive linemen tend not to look great. Just look at the other side of the field in this game. The Buccaneers' offensive line was fairly awful throughout the night.
Comparatively, Pittsburgh's reserve offensive line played better than Tampa's. But something had to be ugly compared to Trubisky's bad.
The most egregious example of the ugliness was no doubt Kendrick Green's botched snap that lost the Steelers 16 yards. This followed a holding call by Green, making him responsible for 26 lost yards to start a drive that had the Steelers in excellent field position.
The start of the fourth quarter saw another botched snap, though this one was under center between fourth-string quarterback Tanner Morgan and journeyman Ryan McCollum. Morgan retained possession, but a botched snap is a botched snap.
Mason Rudolph was only sacked twice for a loss of 13 yards. Overall, much of the pressure from the Bucs came on designed pressures. Rudolph got rid of the ball well when he was pressured, including the 67-yard touchdown to Calvin Austin.
On the ground, the overall numbers were inflated by Rudolph's scramble at the end of the first half, McFarland's touchdown, where he caught the edge and outran Tampa's defense, and Calvin Austin's 17-yard jet sweep. The standard run blocking by the reserves was otherwise rather lackluster.
While we can't expect gaping holes in the preseason, it's still worth acknowledging that the Steelers' reserve offensive line was the worst-performing group wearing Black and Gold Friday night.