After Further Review: What a night

After further review …

Was that really a preseason game that was staged on Saturday night at Acrisure Stadium?

Technically, yes.

But it was also so much more than merely the first of three such exhibitions that serve as a necessary precursor to real football in September.

"That's electrifying," offensive tackle Dan Moore Jr. assessed of the fantastic finish.

Added quarterback Mason Rudolph: "It was loud. Wasn't it loud out there? Incredibly loud."

That had everything to do with Kenny Pickett.

But what should encourage if not electrify the Steelers in the wake of scoring a game-winning touchdown with three seconds left in regulation and beating the Seahawks, 32-25, is all that transpired prior to Pickett-to-Tyler Vaughns at the buzzer.

Many of those who have been generating buzz at Saint Vincent College, for one reason or another, continued to do so, this time at another team's expense.

And that's an important next step.

That group included, in no particular order of significance:

Mitch Trubisky: A first-drive TD drive was a big deal to the veteran addition at quarterback.

"It was awesome," Trubisky insisted, before adding he had been "excited" all day in advance of his chance to make a first impression on Steelers fans.

George Pickens: The rookie wide receiver did it again, this time displaying a grasp of how to achieve a little separation while stopping just shy of OPI via a subtle shove just before yet another exhibition of toe-tapping magic.

Pickens also knocked fourth-round cornerback Coby Bryant on his backside on a run that was going to the other side of the field. Is there nothing the Steelers' No. 2 pick isn't willing to do or capable of doing?

Jaylen Warren: The Sleeper of Saint Vincent ran hard and caught a touchdown pass. Warren put an exclamation point on his score in the third quarter by getting returner Darwin Thompson on the ground on the subsequent kickoff.

"That was huge," Warren gushed. "I was going up to the vets, I was like, 'Watch me, watch me, I'm gonna get a tackle.' And then like four kickoffs, I still ain't got a tackle. I finally got one. I was like, 'Did y'all see that?' Some of them saw it, some of them didn't."

Bet Danny Smith did.

Anthony McFarland Jr.: He said he's learned not to try to hit home runs all the time and to embrace a 4-yard gain as "a good run." McFarland's 24-yard burst on third-and-1 was at least a double to the gap.

Mark Robinson: The running back-turned-inside linebacker continued to establish he's getting the hang of his new position when he separated Drew Lock from the football with just over one minute left in regulation. Robinson was lined up on the right edge of the defensive formation and ultimately enjoyed an unblocked path to the quarterback. He knew what had to happen once he got there.

"Ball must be comin' out," Robinson said. "Ball must be comin' out there."

Pickett: In addition to showing off his legs and arm, the No. 1 pick established he was in command, in part by calling for fellow rookie Connor Heyward before throwing to Heyward on the two-point attempt that gave the Steelers an eight-point lead.

"I wanted Connor in there," Pickett maintained. "That's one of the guys I rep with a lot. I have a lot of trust in him. He's a great player-maker.

"I made sure he was out there for that one."

Heyward didn't disappoint.

None of them did.

At least that's how it felt on a night that didn't project as memorable but wound up exceeding expectations and then some for openers.

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