The Pittsburgh Steelers improved their preseason record to 2-1 tonight with a victory in Orchard Park over the Buffalo Bills, but “victory” came at a high price.
Just six plays into the game the Steelers lost David DeCastro to what Mike Tomlin described as a “potentially severe” knee injury. Pittsburgh journalist Ken Laird quoted Willie Colon as saying that DeCastro’s leg got caught in the artificial turf.
DeCastro, the Steelers first round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft was set to start at right guard and will have an MRI tomorrow. Assuming that MRI confirms the suspicion that the DeCastro has a torn ACL, Ramon Foster will return to his duties as the Steelers starting guard.
Starting defensive end Brett Keisel also left the game with a dreaded “high ankle sprain” but Ziggy Hood and Cameron Heyward played very well in his absence.
Steelers Offense Struggles, Then Surges
The Steelers offense struggled during the first half with several three and outs, but Ben Roethlisberger turned things around in the second quarter, leading a 98 yard drive.
The drive included a long pass to Jonathan Dwyer on 3rd an 9 with Roethlisberger throwing from his end zone. He capped off the drive by hitting Antonio Brown for 6 yards in the end zone.
Prior to that, Troy Polamalu had picked off a Ryan Fitzgerald pass at the 20, which Issac Redman helped convert into a two yard touchdown.
The Steelers opened the scoring in the third quarter when Byron Leftwich hit Antonio Brown for another touchdown pass.
With the first roster cuts due on Monday, it was now or never time for several players. Barron Batch finally put together solid game rushing the ball, if the stat sheet is to be believed.
Corbin Bryant also made his presence known on the defensive line registering a sack, a tackle for a loss, and two QB hits. Cortez Allen also played well dropping player in the backfield and breaking up two passes. Drew Butler continued to make his play for Justin Kapinos’s job, booming off 8 punts for an average just a hair under 50 yards.
Can someone tell me why Shaun Suisham has the edge over David Harpman? Harpman is now 6-6 in his field goal attempts, including another 40 yarder.
Slipping on Banana Peels
A week after taking over the gave vs. the Colts, you had to figure that the 5th wide receiver job was David Gilreath’s to lose. Unfortunately, Gilreath did not catch a pass, and only managed one year on one carry.
Will Johnson will probably make the team as a result of David Johnson’s ACL injury, but only managed one yard on one carry.
Marquis Maze also had a shot at carving a roster spot for himself as a return man, but failed to distinguish himself.
Climbing Everest without Oxygen?
The motive for the sudden dismissal of Al Everest remains unknown, but the Steelers return game vs. the Bills was non-existent.
Mike Tomlin had singled out the poor return game several days prior to firing Everest.
The Steelers coverage units faired no better, allowing the Bills and impressive 10 yard average on punt returns and 29 yards on kick returns.
We may never know the real reason why Everest got the boot, but Amos Jones does have the current of history flowing against him (to see more about the Steelers Jekyll-Hide history of Steelers special teams coaches, click here.)
Wallace Watch in Vain?
Word early in the week that Mike Wallace was due back in Pittsburgh and might already have signed his tender prior to the Bills game.
However, Mike Tomlin’s post-game press conference featured this “prolific” exchange:
Questioner: Any update on Mike Wallace?
Mike Tomlin: None.
Does that mean anything, or is Tomlin just being coy? Perhaps we’ll know tomorrow.
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