In his first true shot at showing he could make a push for the No. 2 quarterback job, Dwayne Haskins came up rather short on Friday night in a 34-9 loss to the Carolina Panthers, struggling to do much of anything offensively.
Haskins struggled to truly command the offense, threw a couple of bad balls — one of which led to an interception — and was generally below average, leading to some stern comments from head coach Mike Tomlin.
The third-year quarterback certainly wasn’t varsity level like Tomlin pointed out, but Haskins did do a nice job shaking off a very poor performance early on to bounce back and conduct a touchdown drive in two-minute action late in the game.
While that’s certainly nothing to write home about, considering it occurred in garbage time with the Steelers down 34-3, Haskins said following the loss that he’ll try and take some of the good from the game, including the final drive, rather than dwelling on the negatives that he put on tape in the preseason finale.
“We had a big play chunk play, um, on third and five that kind of got the drive started,” Haskins said to reporters following the loss. “Um, I just felt like, um, throughout the game, whenever something did happen, something else happened that negated everything. So, you know, it’s just a good job as far as finishing the drive, something that we didn’t really do all day and something that I didn’t really do well all day. So I think that, you know, finishing the drive on third down, getting some chunk plays in the two-minute drill helps and corresponding open guy and getting completions are very important to keeping the drive going. So just taking that in and I’m taking the good out of it.”
Haskins finished the game completing nine of 18 passes for 108 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He did a nice job bouncing back for the final drive, going 4-for-4 for 70 yards and a touchdown after coming back into the game following an injury to Joshua Dobbs.
While he remains firmly entrenched as the No. 3 quarterback in Pittsburgh behind Ben Roethlisberger and Mason Rudolph, he’ll need to go back to the tape from Friday night’s performance and learn from it, something he never quite seemed to do in Washington.