If you can stomach it, my picks from the Pittsburgh Steelers 43-19 loss to the Buffalo Bills today.
Martavis Bryant: Bryant won but it only makes his looming four game suspension sting that much worse. He racked up 138 yards on three catches for gains of 63, 39, and 36 yards. He also drew pass interference calls against rookie Ronald Darby and generally looked uncoverable the entire game.
Daniel McCullers: The big nose tackle posted an abnormally high four tackles. He consistently won at the point of attack in the run game, working off blocks and getting into the backfield. His pass rushing was less than ideal though but McCullers logged a lot of snaps and played at a high level.
Jordan Berry: In what could be the final game of this punting competition, if the Steelers decide to choose their punter at first cutdowns, Berry may have vaulted himself ahead of Brad Wing. He averaged an astounding 58.2 yards on four punts, including a long of 78, that full disclosure – did bounce a good 20 yards. Still, his booming 66 yard punt was entirely through the air and flipped the field for the Steelers. He even handled the kickoffs after Garrett Hartley’s injury.
Michael Vick: Vick showed exactly why it’s important to have a veteran with a lot of gameday experience on your roster. Despite being signed on Wednesday, Vick looked in control, sans taking two timeouts in the red zone, a product of being far away from the sideline and away from the coaching staff. Vick’s 63 yard throw to Bryant as effortless and an immediate display on his arm.
Ethan Hemer: Hemer deflected a pass that nearly resulted in a pick six and showed the high motor fans know he has in chasing down Marquise Goodwin, unfortunately injuring the receiver on the play. But it was a nice overall push for Hemer, even if he’s still seemingly destined for the practice squad.
Pass Defense: Do you need me to spell it out? 43 points, the most allowed in a preseason game since at least 2000, as far back as ESPN would let me go. The Bills threw just three incompletions the entire game – two in the first half and one in the second. It’s not like they threw only 15 times and dinked and dunked. Rex Ryan’s crew tossed it 33 times and threw for 386 yards, picking up chunk yards at will. Some of it came versus backups but the Bills made plays against defenders who will be on the 53 man roster in Week One.
Bottom line. It was as ugly a performance as you’ll see.
Vince Williams: Williams was one of the players beat, failing to carry Charles Clay down the seam en route to his 67 yard touchdown. Williams also may have missed a run fill in the second half, allowing another big run.
Josh Harris: I was excited to see Harris back in uniform but the results weren’t inspiring. Harris averaged a paltry two yards per carry and allowed two sacks, blowing his pass protection assignment each. Poor pass protection is an excellent way to take yourself off the field. Harris doesn’t have a lot of chances to show what he can do with Le’Veon Bell returning by Week 3.
Brandon Boykin: Boykin missed a golden opportunity for a pick six off of Hemer’s deflected pass. He, like several cornerbacks, had trouble keeping his footing, and allowed a couple of catches slipping in his click and close.