The Steelers played their third preseason game of 2021 and emerged victorious against the Detroit Lions. Here’s what we learned from the game.
I don’t know about you guys, but for me, the third preseason game is the harbinger of the regular season. First, for us, the third preseason game means there is only one game left before we end up without football for two weeks before the regular season begins.
Second, the third preseason game (or the second preseason game for teams that have only played three preseason games) typically includes the “starters” or at least the players who are expected to start the regular season. It doesn’t always happen, but how well or how badly a team plays in the third preseason game, I think, has an impact on how the team will perform in the regular season.
Granted, adjustments are always made on both sides of the ball before the regular season and teams don’t always show their “hand” in terms of formations and tendencies, but you can pretty well figure out how the team is going to play during the regular season from the Performance in the third preseason game, like the Steelers, who, as you know, will have played four preseason games.
So the fact that we dropped 20 points in the fourth quarter is alarming to me. We were 23-0 ahead and had full control of the game, then suddenly the Lions came back “roaring” to make the game much tighter than it had to be. Our backups didn’t do well – that’s for sure – but we won anyway.
Steelers starters stole the show
What did we learn from this particular victory? I think the most important thing we have learned is that our franchise and our future Hall of Fame QB, Ben Roethlisberger, is not “washed up” as some in the media have claimed. Big Ben was efficient, completing 8 out of 10 passes for 137 yards and 2 TDs, both to Pat Freiermuth – our second pick for Penn State’s 2021 NFL draft.
In the “red zone” Freiermuth was able to bring in 2 TD passes. To be honest, the Steelers have been missing that in the TE position for some time. It’s refreshing to see that the Steelers got the ball into the “red zone” for at least this game to see what some of our rookies could do.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Steelers ‘D’ were able to take out the Lions for three quarters. But as soon as the backups were there, especially in the fourth quarter, the “wheels” fell off. Look, I understand it’s preseason, but you can’t go without 20 points in the fourth quarter of a game, preseason, or regular season.
Fortunately, the Steelers won our third game in a row. In all fairness, the final preseason game is only important to the players fighting for a spot on the squad. However, with defensive performance in the fourth quarter, the Steelers have to wonder if it’s worth keeping our backups.
I’m not suggesting that we all cut our backups on defense, but I think we need, in all honesty, to take a look at improving our depth on each position. It might sound like I’m overreacting, but professional footballers can’t give up 20 points in any quarter so I suspect there will be changes, but like I said, we won and that’s all that matters.
Let’s get through the final preseason game so we can start the thing that will start the 2021 NFL season. We just hope there won’t be any injuries against the Carolina Panthers next week.