For whatever it’s worth, the Steelers take a 15-3 lead into the second half of this third preseason game. Ben Roethlisberger completed a touchdown pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster, Mason Rudolph one to James Washington for 41 yards, and Stephon Tuitt recorded a safety. For the most part, the defense has played very well, including a handful of sacks and a forced fumble, but the Titans have gotten a few big plays on them.
Of note, Sean Davis left the game late in the second quarter with a lower leg injury after Kameron Kelly tackled a ball carrier into him, but he seemed to be moving around better as he walked into the locker room.
A first-down run opened the second half for the Titans, with Logan Woodside now at quarterback. Ulysees Gilbert III didn’t let the back win the edge a second snap in a row. Off play action, a first-down pass over the middle with Justin Layne in coverage. Daniel McCullers made the tackle on the following run up the middle for a four-yard gain. He was there again on second down, among others. On third and four, Woodside completed on a nice angled pass outside the numbers, a great catch with Layne in coverage.
At the 33, on second down nine, it was Tuzar Skipper again with his third sack, this time getting the ball out, the Steelers recovering.
Following the turnover, Joshua Dobbs took over at quarterback. Trey Edmunds got the ball on first down for about six. Dobbs scrambled and eventually tucked the ball for a scramble following play action for the first down. Two unsuccessful carries set up a third and nine. Dobbs was hit as he threw, connecting with Holton but out of bounds, and he was flagged for offensive pass interference anyway. Holton has been destroying any chance he had of making the team.
Ian Berryman’s punt was fair caught at the eight-yard line, 36 yards.
Gilbert with another tackle on first down. And again on second down. Now third and one, Marcus Allen made a good read on a swing pass out wide to make the tackle behind the line of scrimmage and force a punt. Diontae Spencer was back for the punt, receiving it at the 30 but only getting to the 31 after a lot of lateral running. He got another shot at the reverse, this time breaking for 29 yards.
After a short carry by Edmunds, Dobbs escaped a couple of would-be sacks to find Trey Griffey wide open down the field for a big play. Griffey was ruled out of bounds by the time he secured it, with Tomlin challenging and winning. Yes, Mike Tomlin won a challenge. 8/25/19. Unfortunately, Dobbs whiffed on two of the next three passes, stalling the drive and settling for a Matthew Wright field goal.
On the first play of the following drive, Layne did a nice job to put a hat on the ball to force an incompletion. Skipper shows nice run defense on the following play. On third and long, Woodside was able to escape McCullers to get the pass out and complete the pass for a first down. Skipper and Gilbert continue to flash, making tackles for the defense.
An easy roll-out pitch-and-catch from Dobbs to Zach Gentry opened the next drive. Malik Williams picked up a few yards on the following play. On third and six, Dobbs missed the mark on an intermediate pass to force a punt. Berryman’s punt was fielded at the 10 and returned to the 20. On the drive, Allen forced a fumble, but there was no clear recovery. At the Steelers’ 10 on third and seven, Woodside scrambled and was tackled well short of the chains. Now fourth down, another field goal finally made it 18-6.
Dobbs remained in the game with under seven minutes to go. On third and five, he completed to Brandon Reilly behind the receiver. Spencer was ripped down by the facemask on an attempted reverse for a 15-yard penalty, but otherwise, great play by the defender. From the 20 now, Dobbs off play action looked for Gentry, his pass tipped and intercepted.
Now under five minutes, the defense came up with two stops to set up a third and short from the 10. But Robert Spillane got beat in man coverage for the first down to the 31. Spillane got the sack on fourth down later on the drive, however.
Taking over at the 34, Dobbs remained in the game, Williams on the carry for a minimal gain. Dobbs hit Reilly for a first down on the following play into the red zone. With the first down coming down to the two-minute warning, we got to see the victory formation to ride out a third straight preseason win. For whatever it’s worth.