If you are tuning in to see some great football action, then you were probably really disappointed in the first half of the Steelers’ final preseason game. Terrell Watson’s first-quarter running was a highlight, as was a 50-plus yard strike from Joshua Dobbs to Justin Hunter for a touchdown. Rookie Cameron Sutton was burned for a long gain.
Of note was an ankle injury suffered by Jordan Dangerfield. The Steelers can’t afford for him to miss much time. It could potentially open the door for somebody like Jacob Hagen to spend some time on the 53-man roster until he gets healthy.
Worth noting that Terrell Watson was down there covering the opening kick. Seems like the Steelers are giving him every opportunity to make them keep him on the roster. He was one of several in on the tackle. After a late hit the Panthers started from their own 11, Arthur Moats making the quick tackle after one yard.
Mike Hilton did a nice job playing a screen to the right side, nearly making the tackle but was blocked in the back, drawing a penalty. Farrington Huguenin still made the play. Malik Golden picked off Joe Webb’s subsequent pass on a bad read, but the safety seemed to immediately suffer an injury, an ankle, a groin, maybe everything. He had to hobble out of bounds when he had a chance of returning it for the score.
The offense taking over at the 14, Watson was back at it, bowling ahead for about seven yards as he approaches 90 yards rushing. Just one yard on second down was well-earned. Now third and three, Watson was hit at the line, spinning out but short a yard. On fourth and one, it was Watson again, but he was stopped short. Disappointing for the fringe back.
Carolina taking over at the six, the first-down run was limited to three off the left side. Brandon Dixon made the tackle a yard beyond the first on a pass over Moats’ head. It was Fort again on the tackle from behind on the next play. On second and five, pressure from Lavon Hooks forced the pass high and incomplete. For third down, Fort was beat by the tight end for the first down.
From the 31, Daniel McCullers made the tackle on the run after three yards off left guard. Both Dixon and Hilton missed a tackle on a first-down reception to hte left side for 15 yards. Dixon followed up by drawing a pass interference call. Matakevich was there for the tackle in the backfield on the following play. Hagen made a quick read on the short pass to limit the reception on second down to force a third and long. Carolina had plenty of time to throw but the coverage was sound and the quarterback was forced to check it down, incomplete with Hagen in coverage. Graham Gano from 51 yards was no good off the right upright.
Cameron Sutton reportedly suffered a hamstring injury and is out for the rest of the game. One wonders how severe it might be and how that will effect his immediate future.
Late in the third, Knile Davis replaced Watson at running back, but was stopped for a loss on first down. From the 40, he did have a nice cutback run for 10. On third and one, Dobbs dropped back to pass and threw high for Jake McGee, but the tight end should have been able to make the catch, given his circumstances. The drop means the Steelers had to punt, Berry sending one 40 yards for a fair catch at the 10.
Brian Allen got beat by the tight end for about 18 down the right side. After a nine-yarder, the defensive line couldn’t hold in short-yardage, giving up another first. Allen stuck his nose in for a hard tackle on a run off right edge on the next play. Good look from the rookie. Now second and five, Allen was targeted on a deep ball, incomplete. He was a bit behind but made a play on it and did a nice job of avoiding a penalty. On third down, Terrish Webb came up with the big hit on a check down, knocking the ball out, the Steelers–Fort–recovering.
Dobbs taking over, he rolled out of pressure but fired low for Demarcus Ayers, the ball skipping. Davis was stuffed for a loss on the following play. On third and long, Dobbs scrambled out of pressure but only tucked and ran for a couple yards. Berry’s punt was a nice one, dropping dead near the 10 to be downed by the coverage unit. The punter rebounding in the second half.
For the second time in the game, an offense suffered a delay of game before the first play, this time Carolina the victim. Dashaun Phillips couldn’t get the receiver down as he spun away for the first down. Following a four-yard run, the defense was gashed up the middle for 12. Terrish Webb was injured on the tackle, another safety down, the third of the game.
Two plays later, a batted pass resulted in a Matt Galambos interception. Roy Philon with the tip.
The offense taking over from their 44, Davis picked up about four on first down. Bottled up on second down, Dobbs was able to find Marcus Tucker to convert. He barely got the throw away on a blitz on the following play but it was caught by Davis, who was immediately hit for a big loss. On second and 16, he looked deep for Tucker, but the ball was well short. He way overthrew Ayers over the middle on third and 16. Berry’s punt was fielded at the 11, tackled by Davis at the 14.
Following a one-yard run on first down, Hilton made the tackle after a seven-yard reception, Hagen on the blitz. On third and two, the defense gave up the first. A screen pass that floated gave Hagen time to crush the back. But the defense finally got off the field on the end of that series. On fourth and two, it was Ayers back to return the punt from the 32. Fielding from the 19, he got about 17 or so on the return, but a block in the back penalty was called.
From the 12 now, Dobbs threw to Hamilton short of the sticks, fighting for 12 or 13. Another pass to Tucker on the right side got eight. After a false start, McGee got his first reception, catching a pass wide away from his body but stopped short of the first. On third and three, Dobbs hit McGee over the middle. He scrambled on the subsequent play for a short gain leading into the two-minute warning.
Tucker got away from the cornerback after the catch for the first down and out of bounds on the first play. From the 43, however, Dobbs was sacked on a stunt up the middle. Hamilton caught a pass just after a cornerback made a play on the ball but missed. He was making a beeline for the end zone, but the cornerback hustled back and punched the ball out, the Panthers recovering at the goal line for the touchback. That was the cornerback that Hunter burned in the first half…still playing at the end of the game.
From the 20, Keith Kelsey made the stop after a few yards, the Steelers using their first timeout. The defense did manage to make their stops, the third coming with 1:07 remaining after three timeouts. Ayers got off another solid return, but not exactly enough to earn a roster spot. McGee was wrapped up inbounds for a short loss. Dobbs scrambled for a short gain on second down. He did manage to convert to Tucker on the drag for the first down and out of bounds. From the 35, he hit Tucker at the one and out of bounds to set up first and goal with nine seconds to play. From the one, on first and goal, Dobbs took it in around the right end for the go-ahead touchdown with two seconds remaining, ending their preseason with a 3-1 record.