Skip to main content

After Further Review: In the eye of the beholder

After further review …

The offense rallied for a go-ahead score on a fourth-and-goal touchdown inside the two-minute warning.

The defense bent but didn't break and finally dug in with a stop for no gain on a third-and-6 completion to the 38-yard line with three seconds remaining.

And the 57-yard field goal attempt on the last play of the game didn't split the uprights.

Steelers 16, Jaguars 15.

But what did it mean?

And what does 2-0 in August suggest?

Technically, nothing.

The value of preseason victories at face value was confirmed in 2017.

That was the summer the Browns went 4-0 in the preseason, including a victory over the Saints, who went on to win the NFC South and win a playoff game.

Those same Browns went 0-16 in the regular season.

So no, preseason results don't count.

But don't tell Larry Ogunjobi they don't matter.

"I think winning is important in anything, 'Craps,' 'Jenga,' any game," Ogunjobi maintained. "I think winning's important, so to come out here and get a 'W' is really important regardless if it's preseason or not."

"Winning is something you want to make a habit and it starts here. When there's a scoreboard and there's a 'win' and 'loss' you want to be on the winning side, regardless."

Ogunjobi's opinion was shared in the visitor's locker room at TIAA Bank Field, which also turned out to be the winner's locker room on Saturday night.

"I think it was important for all of us," said quarterback Mason Rudolph, "important for the team, important to score, to go win the game."

It was Rudolph who threw the touchdown pass that was caught by wide receiver Tyler Snead that capped the drive that won the game late.

Left offensive tackle Dan Moore Jr. was watching by then, but he was still paying attention.

"Man, it means that we're gonna fight," Moore insisted.

The Steelers have established that much twice in two preseason tries, breaking a tie with seconds to spare against Seattle and coming from behind in dramatic fashion in Jacksonville.

The two victories that have resulted in August won't mean much in September, but how they played out could potentially resonate.

So might the confidence they're building, individually and collectively.

"To win them is huge, right?" center Mason Cole offered. "Anytime you go out there and compete you want to win.

"Obviously, in a few weeks it'll matter more but to win is huge."

Cole mentioned the emphasis the coaches had placed on the Jaguars being a week ahead of the Steelers in team development and preseason exposure due to their participation in the Hall of Fame Game.

Game action photos from the Week 2 preseason game at the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field

Knowing a less-than-level playing field can be overcome might come in handy down the road.

So might the confidence players are gaining in themselves and inspiring in their teammates, especially those who are less than proven "NFL dudes" (as Mike Tomlin might put it).

Pressley Harvin III's 76-yard free kick after the safety that ceded the lead in the third quarter might be as good an example of that as any.

There's a good chance that mattered to Harvin.

And there's no disputing the significance of catching the game-winning touchdown to Snead.

He still had the ball clutched in his arm on the sideline as the Steelers were preparing to kick off following a failed two-point conversion attempt.

That may or may not matter come Sept. 11 and beyond.

But a bunch of other stuff that will officially count for nothing just might.

Steelers Nation, NFL+ is here, which means you can now watch your Steelers live and on the go! Watch live out-of-market preseason games across devices and live local and primetime regular season games on your phone or tablet. Start your free trial today here.

Related Content