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Steelers open preseason with 20-12 win

Posted Aug 11, 2017

A look at what stood out in the Steelers win over the New York Giants.

The Steelers opened the preseason with a 20-12 win over the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium, getting some solid play from the defense along the way.

The Giants were kept out of the endzone, only being able to muster four field goals. The defense was swarming all night, with seven sacks including three by Arthur Moats and two by T.J. Watt.

After the Giants went up 12-10 in the third quarter, the Steelers scored 10 unanswered points for the 20-12 lead. The defense held off the Giants late, stopping them on fourth down on two fourth quarter drives to secure the win.

“Good start for us. Good to get the win,” said Coach Mike Tomlin. “A lot to learn from. We’ll comb through it with the men. A lot of good contributions, guys put physical conditioning on display. Some positivity to build upon as we move forward.”

That’s Watt they wanted:
When the Steelers selected T.J. Watt with their No. 1 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, they hoped he would be someone who made a quick impact. That he did.

On the Giants first offensive series Watt recorded his first NFL sack. On third-and-seven Watt took down quarterback Josh Johnson for a three-yard loss, forcing the Giants to punt. 

Watt’s work wasn’t complete. On the first play of the next series Watt got to Johnson unblocked, this time recording an eight-yard sack. The Giants eventually punted after going three-and-out again.

Watt also applied pressure throughout the night, putting on quite a show in his first NFL game.

Don’t cross the Moats: Arthur Moats, who was named the Steelers Digest Player of the Week, was all over the field. Moats had six tackles, three sacks and an interception.

“He did what he was supposed to do,” said Tomlin. “He is supposed to dominate under those circumstances and he did.”

Making his debut: Prior to his first NFL game, Joshua Dobbs got some advice from Ben Roethlisberger.

“Make sure you throw the ball to our color,” Dobbs said of what Roethlisberger told him.

Things didn’t go that way early on for Dobbs and the offense. 

Dobbs, who got the start with Roethlisberger sitting and Landry Jones still out with an abdominal injury, threw two interceptions early on.  

In the first quarter former Steelers’ corner Valentino Blake, who went by his first name of Antwon while with the Steelers, picked off Dobbs’ pass and returned it 11 yards. The Giants answered with a field goal.

At the start of the second quarter Dobbs’ pass intended for Eli Rogers was intercepted by Devin Taylor and returned 23-yards to the 17-yard line. The Giants also converted this one into a field goal.

Dobbs rebounded nicely, though.

The Steelers got the ball with just 40 seconds in the half and Dobbs threw his first NFL touchdown pass, a 28-yard strike to Cobi Hamilton to give the Steelers a 10-9 halftime lead.

“From a performance standpoint it’s been up and down,” said Tomlin. “Not surprised by that. It’s a natural part of the maturation process. I do like the look in his eye, his level of communication in the midst of it all. From that standpoint it’s very encouraging.”  

Dobbs played the entire first half, as well as a good chunk of the third quarter before being replaced by Bart Houston. Dobbs finished the night going 8-for-15 for 100 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He also rushed for 16 yards on one carry.

Tidbits: Some quick hits from tonight’s game against the Giants.

* Mike Hilton, who has been a standout in training camp and earning praise from the coaches, took down Geno Smith for a 10-yard sack in the second quarter. He also came up big when he recovered a muffed punt by Donte Deayon, giving the offense the ball and setting up the Steelers first touchdown of the game, to give them a 10-9 halftime lead. Hilton also came up with a stop on fourth-and-short in the fourth quarter to force the Giants to turn the ball over on downs.

Terrell Watson extended the Steelers lead to 20-12 in the fourth quarter with a 15-yard touchdown run.

* Martavis Bryant, who was cleared by the NFL to take part in all preseason games and practices, didn’t play against the Giants but was on the field prior to the game getting a workout.

Bryant will take part in his first training camp practice when the Steelers return to Saint Vincent College on Sunday.

“We are going to put our foot on the gas and proceed,” said Tomlin. “He is physically ready. We’ve got the go-ahead from New York. We gave him an extended workout and warm-up tonight. We didn’t deem it was appropriate because of lack of prep to play in this game. He will start like the rest of them when we get back to Latrobe and continue with development.”

* JuJu Smith-Schuster left the game in the first quarter with a concussion. Smith-Schuster did not return.

How they scored: A detailed look at tonight’s scoring.

First Quarter (1:23): Steelers 0, Giants 3
Scoring Play: Aldrick Rosas 27-yard field goal.
Scoring Drive: 12-30-6:23

Second Quarter (11:51): Steelers 0, Giants 6
Scoring Play: Mike Nugent 30-yard field goal.
Scoring Drive: 6-5-2:16

Second Quarter (5:51): Steelers 3, Giants 6
Scoring Play: Chris Boswell 48-yard field goal.
Scoring Drive: 9-58-6:00

Second Quarter (1:12): Steelers 3, Giants 9
Scoring Play: Aldrick Rosas 52-yard field goal.
Scoring Drive: 9-47-4:39

Second Quarter (:33): Steelers 10, Giants 9
Scoring Play: Joshua Dobbs 28-yard touchdown pass to Cobi Hamilton.
Scoring Drive: 1-28-0:07

Third Quarter (10:30): Steelers 10, Giants 12
Scoring Play: Mike Nugent 45-yard field goal.
Scoring Drive: 9-52-4:30

Third Quarter (4:02): Steelers 13, Giants 12
Scoring Play: Chris Boswell 37-yard field goal.
Scoring Drive: 4-5-1:32

Fourth Quarter (12:46): Steelers 20, Giants 12
Scoring Play: Terrell Watson 15-yard touchdown run.
Scoring Summary: 9-53-4:45