What We Saw: Preseason Week 3

The What We Saw team recaps everything you missed from the final week of the preseason

Lions @ Steelers

Final Score: Steelers 19, Lions 9

Writer: Ben Brown (@BenBrownPL on Twitter)

 

Steelers kicker Chris Boswell certainly earned his paycheck on Sunday, as he kicked four field goals and had a fifth blocked. The Steelers’ only touchdown of the game came on the final drive of the second half, as Mitchell Trubisky drove them down the field and scored with fifteen seconds left on the clock. Detroit’s offense struggled mightily in this game without Jared Goff or D’Andre Swift, but their defense did a good job overall to help keep the Steelers to field goals. This was a tough game to watch.

 

Detroit Lions

| Preseason Week 1 | Preseason Week 2 |

 

Quarterback

 

Tim Boyle: 5/15, 64 yards, INT, Sack | 1 carry, -1 yard

David Blough: 17/32, 160 yards, TD, 2 Sacks, Fumble | 2 carries, 11 yards

 

Jared Goff sat this one out, and the offense was dreadful without him. Tim Boyle started this game and had multiple overthrows and passes tipped at the LOS. He threw a pick to a wide open defender, who happily caught the ball and nearly took it to the house. Boyle only played the first quarter, and it didn’t get much better after he left.

I can’t believe that David Blough didn’t throw an interception in this game. I lost count at five throws that were either tipped or hit defenders’ hands that should have been picked off. At one point he rolled out to the left, for no reason, right into a defender and was sacked. He overthrew a wide-open receiver down the seam… I’m just going to stop there.

He had a few highlights worth mentioning. At one point he fumbled a snap but was able to pick it up and zip it downfield for a first down. It was a good recovery.

He also completed these two passes, with one of them improbably caught for a touchdown.

 

 

 

Running Back

 

Justin Jackson: 8 carries, 44 yards, Fumble | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 39 yards

Craig Reynolds: 6 carries, 31 yards | 3 targets, 2 receptions, 13 yards

Jermar Jefferson: 6 carries, 28 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 2 yards

Godwin Igwebulke: 1 carry, -1 yard | 2 targets, 1 reception, 15 yards

 

I was impressed by the offensive line’s run blocking abilities in this game. They made Justin JacksonCraig Reynolds, and Jermar Jefferson look like Dalvin Cook at times by giving them huge holes to run through and turn on the jets. Jefferson had a 27-yard run on 3rd and 17, but otherwise ran into the backs of his linemen on each of his other carries. As good as Jackson’s day looked on paper, he had another long 10+ yard run called back by a penalty. He also caught this screen pass and hurdled a defender.

 

 

I really enjoy watching Craig Reynolds run the ball. He’s tough and he hits the hole hard. He also had a nice return on a kickoff called back on a penalty.

 

Wide Receiver/Tight End

 

Amon-Ra St. Brown: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 34 yards

DJ Chark: 2 targets

Kalil Pimpleton: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 31 yards

Josh Reynolds: 3 targets, 1 reception, 24 yards

T.J. Hockenson: 2 targets, 1 reception, 15 yards

Tom Kennedy: 6 targets, 3 receptions, 15 yards

Trinity Benson: 6 targets, 1 reception, 8 yards

Quintes Cephus: 3 targets, 1 reception, 5 yards, TD

 

When you have bad quarterback play, it’s tough to be a WR. Amon-Ra St. Brown played for most of the first quarter, and he dropped an easy screen pass. That was kind of indicative of how the entire offense played with the killer B’s (Boyle and Blough) under center.

I feel bad for guys like Trinity Benson and Kalil Pimpleton, both guys who are trying to make this team. At one point, the Lions caught Pittsburgh offside and had a free play. Benson made a nice move to beat his defender and get open, but the defender tackled him while the ball was in the air. It was an obvious DPI call, but it would have at least been a long gain for Benson, if not a touchdown if he weren’t interfered with. He was also targeted on two separate occasions where the ball was tipped at the line. His box score looks brutal but it’s really not his fault.

Pimpleton, or “Plimpton” as Greg Gumbel kept calling him, was the victim of two underthrows. He also dropped a ball at the goal line on 4th and goal, but it wasn’t entirely his fault. It was a bad throw, he just should have held onto it.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

| Preseason Week 1 | Preseason Week 2 |

 

Quarterback

 

Mitch Trubisky: 15/19, 160 yards, TD, 2 Sacks

Kenny Pickett: 10/14, 90 yards

Mason Rudolph: 0/3

 

Danny Dimes plays for the Giants, but the Pittsburgh QBs were throwing dimes on Sunday as well. Mitch Trubisky threw this time to Diontae Johnson early in the game:

 

 

On the final drive of the first half, Trubisky initially dinked and dunked to Steven Sims and Najee Harris before throwing dimes to George Pickens and Pat Freiermuth to put the Steelers in scoring position. He’d then hit Sims for the score right before the half, capping off a 92 yard drive in 1:17. Trubisky should be an upgrade at QB over Big Ben this season.

Kenny Pickett started the 2nd half with a fizzle, rolling out to his right and overthrowing a receiver by at least fifteen yards. He actually looked pretty good otherwise, and he through this gorgeous back shoulder throw to Miles Boykin later in the half.

 

 

This is the first time I’ve seen Pickett play for the Steelers this preseason and I was overall impressed. He didn’t flash future top-5 QB potential by any means, but I can see why the Steelers drafted him in the first round. However, the double gloves look is a weird look. I may never get over that. I don’t believe a double-glove QB has ever won a Super Bowl, or an MVP, so this is something to monitor.

 

Running Back

 

Najee Harris: 4 carries, 10 yards | 3 targets, 3 receptions, 11 yards

Jaylen Warren: 7 carries, 11 yards

Benny Snell Jr.: 5 carries, 17 yards

Anthony McFarland Jr.: 2 carries, 6 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 7 yards

 

Najee Harris played the entire first half for some reason. I’m not really sure why, it seemed unnecessary. He flashed his immense potential on a couple of runs, breaking out the spin move on one and leapfrogging a defender on another. The only other RB who flashed at any point was Benny Snell Jr., who made a nice spin move after being met at the line of scrimmage to gain some yards and convert the third down.

 

Wide Receiver/Tight End

 

Diontae Johnson: 1 target, 1 reception, 38 yards

George Pickens: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 35 yards

Pat Freiermuth: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 45 yards

Miles Boykin: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 41 yards

Steven Sims: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 23 yards, TD

Gunner Olszewski: 4 targets, 2 receptions, 16 yards

 

George Pickens was targeted in the red zone once, but the throw was a bit behind him and the ball was batted away. A better throw would have resulted in a touchdown. He caught a ball later on and was able to shake a defender literally off his back and gain some extra yards. He caught a ball down the sideline, tiptoeing his feet inbounds with ease, and he very nearly came down with a fantastic one-handed catch down the sideline but he couldn’t hold onto it. Pickens is going to be a monster.

Steven Sims caught the touchdown but struggled in the return game.

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