The Steelers did not have the first half that they wanted, starting with a pick six and allowing three different quarterbacks to lead touchdown drives against their defense. Mason Rudolph had his moments but ultimately was unimpressive, in my estimation. The only offensive skill position player to impress was James Conner, who single-handedly was responsible for their first touchdown drive.
Of note is JuJu Smith-Schuster, who has a touchdown in each of the first two preseason games. James Washington and Damoun Patterson have been quiet so far. I don’t believe Stevan Ridley has gotten into the game yet. Defensively, Bud Dupree got a couple of pressures, including a sack. Terrell Edmunds forced a fumble on special teams, but was beaten twice for touchdowns in the red zone.
Marcus Tucker made a nice tackle on the opening kickoff of the half to put the Packers on their own 22. With DeShone Kizer still in, Javon Hargrave and Nat Berhe made the opening tackle for a short gain. On second down, Kizer’s pass was partially dropped by a rookie receiver. Now third and long, he hit a nice slant pass in front of Dashaun Phillips for 15, who had decent coverage. He came up with a pass defensed on the next third-down situation to force a punt.
Joshua Dobbs was picked off on his first throw for a score, keeping pace with Rudolph, who faced the same fate. On the ensuing drive, the Steelers advanced to the Packers’ side of the field quickly due to penalties, starting with the kickoff going out of bounds. From Green Bay’s 45, Dobbs rolled out and found Washington for a first down for 20 yards.
Jaylen Samuels forced a missed tackle in the backfield for about a six-yard run into the red zone. Now second and four, Washington made a spectaculer contested catch for a 19-yard score, plucking the ball from over the head of the defensive back covering him. His control of the ball in coordination with his feet to maintain possession was notable. On the two-point try, Dobbs kept it after faking the draw, winning the race to the left pylon.
After a good stop on the kickoff and a run stop on first down, the Steelers gave up an 82-yard touchdown to Jake Kummerow. Brian Allen played the ball and didn’t get it, leaving the receiver clean. Berhe got turned around and lost the footrace.
Samuels forced another missed tackle on a pass out to the flat for a four-yard gain. On second and 26, he took another short pass for five, setting up third and one. He made a cut to the left for about five yards on the ground, but Pharaoh McKever was flagged for holding. On third down, Dobbs flushed to his right and fired a hard pass that ricocheted heavily about 20 yards backward. Tucker made the tackle on the ensuing punt, which was returned nearly 40 yards.
Ola Adeniyi made the run stop on the first play following the long punt return. Allen was beaten on an inside slant for a nice chunk, but there was a penalty on the play to negate it. Malik Golden got a hand on a downfield pass to break it up after that. That forced a punt, which went for a touchback. Several plays into the drive, Dobbs found Washington deep down the field for a 50-plus-yard gain, getting behind the secondary. If Dobbs hit him in stride, it would have been six.
Now from the 14, Samuels got the ball and worked his way forward for five. Another carry got him to about the eight, as Patrick Morris walked a little gingerly after the play and left the field with the trainers. The subsequent play was blown dead for a false start on R.J. Prince. Dobbs had time to throw to find McKever for 10 to make it first and goal from the three. Samuels was fed the ball a couple of times before punching it in on second down for the touchdown. On the two-point try, Samuels was slow to turn around and the defender was able to get a hand out to defend Dobbs’ ball in the right front.
The Packers were backed up to their own 10 due to penalty. After a quick eight-yard out, Summers was flagged for pass interference. L.J. Fort buried Kizer on a blitz on the following play to end the third quarter. But then he was beat for 22 yards on third and long. The drive ultimately led to a 52-yard field goal.
On the ensuing possession, Dobbs stepped up out of pressure to deliver a completion for a first down to Trey Griffey. He took it on a draw keeper for about five on the follow-up play. A back shoulder to Damoun Patterson connected for 29 yards, though the defense on the play was poor. The drive nearly stalled after that, but Dobbs scrambled for the first on third and eight.
The drive ended with Washington coming up with yet another contested catch, this one in the end zone for a score. He and the cornerback grappled for possession, the defender even looking to have more of the ball at one point, but the tie goes to the receiver. Dobbs’ two-point conversion pass attempt was errant and defended harmlessly.
For I think the first time all night, the Steelers forced a three-and-out, but Quadree Henderson settled for a fair catch when he could have made a return attempt. He’s certainly done nothing to deserve consideration for a roster spot. Fitzgerald Toussaint can call fair catches.
After a completion to Griffey and a facemask, the Steelers were in Packers territory. A long ball to Griffey fell incomplete as the receiver got tangled up. Dobbs dumped it off to Samuels, who was tackled for no gain, but Larson Graham was flagged for a hold anyway. He replaced Morris at center, moving over from guard. Now second and 20, Dobbs uncorked another one to Griffey across the field, but the pass was defended. Finally on third down, he stepped up out of pressure but could not deliver an accurate ball, incomplete. I assume there was a field goal but I guess I missed it. It’s a long game, folks.
Now the Steelers are using timeouts with 1:10 left. Oh my god.