The Steelers opened their 2017 preseason schedule with a trip to MetLife Stadium Friday night to take on the Giants.
As is usually the case in these initial preseason affairs, mistakes were plentiful, but then so were the positive plays, as Pittsburgh outlasted New York, 20-12, to open with a 1-0 record in exhibition play.
Quarterback Joshua Dobbs, the team’s fourth round pick out of Tennessee in the 2017 NFL Draft, got the start in-place of backup Landry Jones, who usually takes center stage in these situations, but was sidelined with an oblique injury.
Dobbs certainly looked like a rookie in the first quarter, when he threw two interceptions that led directly to a couple of Giants field goals and a 6-0 deficit.
However, following cornerback Mike Hilton’s recovery of a Donte Deayon muffed punt late in the second quarter, Dobbs connected with receiver Cobi Hamilton on a 28-yard touchdown pass with just seven seconds remaining in the first half to give Pittsburgh a 10-9 lead at the break.
In the second half, following the Giants’ fourth field goal of the game, the Steelers scored 10 unanswered points–including a 15-yard scamper by reserve running back Terrell Watson–to open the preseason with a very satisfying eight-point victory.
That’s the box score; what about some individual efforts?
How about the debut of rookie first round pick T.J. Watt, who recorded sacks on back-to-back plays in the first quarter and also had a quarterback pressure later in the first half?
Then there’s veteran outside linebacker Arthur Moats, who bested the rookie with six tackles, three sacks and an interception early in the second half that led to a Chris Boswell field goal.
As for Dobbs, he completed eight of 15 passes for 100 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He also had a second touchdown to Xavier Grimble called back due to a penalty.
Hamilton also played a pivotal role in the game, catching two passes for 72 yards and touchdown, as he stepped up and threw his hat in the ring for one of the final receiver spots, what with Sammie Coates still nursing an injury and rookie second round pick,
JuJu Smith-Schuster, leaving the game early with what appeared to be a concussion.
Next up for the Steelers is a 4 p.m. tilt with the NFC Champion Falcons at Heinz Field on Sunday, August 20.