Takeaways From The Steelers Preseason Opener Win

August 15, 2022

Football is finally back. It’s only been one preseason game, but football is indeed back. Social media is full of flaming hot takes and overreactions per usual. It’s hard not to overreact but there’s still a lot of football left to be played. We saw a lot of new faces in black and yellow, some of which left a good impression.

Taking the field for the first time in the newly named Acrisure Stadium, The Steelers looked like they hadn’t missed a beat. Pittsburgh defeated Seattle 32-25, a win that was capped off by Kenny Pickett leading the Steelers down the field for a game-winning drive. Pittsburgh was able to snag the always-important win, but what can we take away from this game?

George Pickens is HIM

Regardless of who you root for, you probably already know this. Pickens hauled in three catches for 43 yards, including a 26-yard pass from Mason Rudolph that he toe-tapped in the corner of the endzone. Pickens even pulled out his iconic move and gave us a pancake. He’s lived up to all the hype in the small sample size that we’ve gotten so far.

Pickens has been the talk of the draft class so far. Turning heads at training camp and now in a full-speed game. The guy just makes playing wide receiver so easy. His body control and hands are next level. He has good size and speed. After the game, Pickens was asked about playing in his first NFL game and said “It’s a dream come true. But if you look at it like a dream come true, you’ll get stuck in that dream.”. Sounds like he’s been hanging out with Coach Tomlin.

Quarterbacks Played Solid

We got to see all the quarterbacks besides Chris Oladokun on Saturday night. Mitch Trubisky started the game and looked well-oiled. Trubisky completed four of seven passes for 63 yards including a sweet scramble to find Gunner Olszewski all alone for a touchdown. Mitch was Mitch. Mason Rudolph entered the game after that, playing until halftime. Rudolph gathered 93 yards, completing nine of his 15 pass attempts. Money Mason also hooked up with Pickens for a highlight reel touchdown.

Then entered the man everyone was itching to see, First Rounder Kenny Pickett. Pickett played the whole second half. On his first drive as a pro, Pickett went five for five and led the Steelers down the field for a touchdown pass to Jaylen Warren. He even nailed the pass to complete the 2-Point Conversion. Pickett went on to finish the game completing 13 of his 15 passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns. He led the Steelers down the field again in 1:07 to win the game, this time with multiple runs to move the chains before hooking up with Tyler Vaughns for a game-winning touchdown.

Without overshadowing how Trubisky and Rudolph played, it’s fair to say Pickett’s performance got Yinzers excited. He was the biggest question mark going in after some said he struggled to open training camp. Pickett looked comfortable out there. He got sacked twice but overall kept it clean. All three quarterbacks played well and the competition could be heating up. That should get Steelers fans excited.

Other Players That Impressed

Jaylen Warren and Anthony McFarland both put together good games, heating up the RB2 discussion. McFarland finished with 56 yards on seven attempts and Warren finished with 34 yards on six rush attempts and grabbed four receptions for 30 yards and a touchdown. Recently signed Master Teague even jumped in on the action, rushing for 31 yards in six attempts. Somebody in the running back room needs to step up to be able to take some snaps off Najee Harris.

The Steelers are deep at wide receiver with a number of guys chipping in Saturday night. Gunner Olszewski caught three passes for 47 yards and a touchdown. Miles Boykin had two receptions for 17 yards but chipped in on Special Teams, making a couple of tackles and picking up a forced fumble. You know Coach Tomlin loves that. Steven Sims took a sweep for 38 yards and had a good punt return. Tyler Vaughns caught two passes for 32 yards and the game-winning touchdown. A room that’s deep for the Steelers, a great problem to have.

Damontae Kazee and Demarvin Leal seemed to be flying around out there. Kazee made four tackles and had an assist while Leal ended up with two tackles and almost had a sack. Mark Robinson came screaming off the edge to get a strip sack late on Drew Lock that set up Pickett’s game-winning drive. Great to see young guys stepping up and making plays already.

It’s only been one game so we shouldn’t overreact, but it was a fun night. One of the more exciting preseason games in a while. But we can’t get too excited yet, the position battles will start to heat up and they will begin to trim the fat and the roster will get ready to officially kick it off on yet another chase for number seven on September 11.