The Steelers end the 2022 preseason with an undefeated record, but not one of those wins matter. What matters is how well, or poorly, the team was playing. Let’s take a look at the preseason finale victory over the Detroit Lions.
The Steelers offense had six possessions in the first half. Four of those possessions combined for 12 yards gained with one first down. The other two drives gained 150 yards and earned two scores. There’s blame to go around too. The first drive the blocking wasn’t bad at all, but quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was not on his game. Later the offensive line would undo the drives with penalties and miscues. When the line and quarterback were both playing well, the Steelers moved the ball and scored. The biggest negative for this writer was the offense getting two drives back-to-back that started in enemy territory, one at the 19-yard line and the other the 25 and could not convert a single first down, and settled for field goals on both drives.
Kenny Pickett again moved the Steelers well, but only converted 1 of his 4 deeper passes and failed to get into the end zone for the first time this preseason. Mason Rudolph only played one drive and didn’t complete a single pass.
Honor Roll: Steven Sims, Pat Freiermuth, Mason Cole
Demerits: The entire run game, Mason Rudolph
Final Grade: D
The Steelers defense didn’t face starting quarterback Jared Goff, but they did a good job against the Lions backups, holding Detroit to scoreless in the first half while setting up the offense with two drives that started in field goal range. The Steelers run defense wasn’t the best throughout the night, but it wasn’t enough to get the Lions going until the end of the game when they finally scored a touchdown against the bottom of the Steelers depth chart.
Devin Bush again played better than the week before, and was passable as a coverage linebacker. The Steelers played Cameron Heyward, T.J. Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick together for the first time this preseason, and the first team defense did the job. The backups were also good, and while the bottom of the depth chart players gave up 9 points, they had some good play as well. The Steelers defense is the strength of this team and will have to carry a large load, especially early on this season.
Honor Roll: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Cameron Heyward, DeMarvin Leal
Demerits: T.J. Watt leaving the game with injury, continued breakdowns in run defense
Final Grade: A
Chris Boswell had a field goal blocked and the kick return team gave up an onside kick, but the Steelers again were very strong on their punt team and had some decent returns, and with 13 of their 19 points coming from Boswell, you can’t grade them too poorly.
Honor Roll: Chris Boswell, Pressley Harvin III, James Pierre
Demerits: Kendrick Green’s blocking, Derek Tuzska and Jace Sternberger on the onside kick
Final Grade: C
Not many questions were answered, and the Steelers continue to look like a team that is going to struggle early on in 2022. But it wasn’t all bad, and it is clear that if a few things get shored up the Steelers will be a competitive team.
If either T.J. Watt or Diontae Johnson have serious injuries, then you can replace this grade with a burning dumpster.
Final Grade: C
Now it’s your turn to tell us what you think. Vote your grade for the Steelers overall performance and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.