Showing some good things: The Steelers offense came out on fire against the Buffalo Bills, scoring touchdowns on their first two drives of the game as they came out on top, 27-15.
Coach Mike Tomlin was pleased with the overall performance of the starting units, pulling them early as the team has a short week ahead, taking on the Atlanta Falcons on the road on Thursday.
"Some good things to be excited about from a performance perspective," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "It was going pretty well, that's why we got the first units out of the game relatively early. But also, we've got a five-day turnaround so those guys will get an opportunity to play again here in a short period of time. They did enough to check the boxes of week two of the preseason. Because week three is coming so quickly, we moved on, got some exposure to some other people and I'm appreciative of that.
"When the first units operate the way they operated, it really provides a platform for others to show their skills. I thought the guys were engaged. I thought they did some fundamental things well. That makes them a tough team to beat. I didn't think we were highly penalized. I thought we largely maintained possession of the ball. Those types of things. We played the field position game. We kept them on the long field with our midfield punting.
"There's a lot to be learned and a lot to be taught at this stage of the journey and we have to do it extremely quickly this week because it's a quick transition. We'll be wheels up here in a short number of days. And again, we expect to play everybody who is available to us, in particular the starters. That is why we preceded in the manner we did tonight."
Running back Jaylen Warren struck early for the black and gold, breaking free for a 62-yard touchdown run to give the Steelers an early 7-0 lead.
"He is built for the game," said Tomlin. "He has a natural base about him. He is tough to get on the ground. He is competitive. He is just a young guy that is working to get better. He brings that every day."
Quarterback Kenny Pickett saw limited playing time once again, completing three of four passes for 43 yards and one touchdown, a 25-yard strike to Pat Freiermuth, putting the Steelers up 14-0.
"I like the fact that we are getting some splash. It's just not a large enough sample size. That is the thing we all battle this time of year. It's a limited sample size. If you are looking to feel good, you can find it. I don't know if I, or we, are looking to feel good. We're just working. We're going to keep it moving and get ready for this next one next week."
Rookie second-round pick Joey Porter Jr. saw his first action after being held out of last week's game. Porter had his first interception, giving the ball to his father, Joey Porter Sr., afterwards.
"We can't get him enough snaps," said Tomlin. "We'll be working our tails off to make up for last week's missed opportunity. I liked some of the things he did. Boy, we have to see a lot more. He has to see a lot more. There is no substitute for snap exposure."
Playing with confidence: While the offense came out firing, the starting defense was in shutdown mode, not allowing the Bills first-team to get on the scoreboard.
Quarterback Josh Allen completed seven of 10 passes for 64 yards and no touchdowns before his night was over.
"I thought we did well," said linebacker T.J. Watt. "There's always going to be things that we can improve on, but to be able to go up against 1s on 1s for whatever reps it was, eight or 12 reps, it was good to get the action. I felt we performed well, but haven't taken a look at the film yet."
Overall the defense accounted for three interceptions, with Joey Porter Jr., Elijah Riley and Chandon Sullivan each accounting for one. For a team that was strong in that category last year, it was a good showing, especially with young players and newcomers being the ones coming up with the turnovers.
"We're playing fast. We're playing confident," said Watt. "We kind of look like we were locked away for 28 days together (at training camp), just how we were gelling out there defensively.
"I feel like we're flying around. We were having a lot of fun playing with swag. I'm sure there's a lot of corrections to be made but we had fun, for sure."
Nothing but touchdowns: Through two preseason games Kenny Pickett and the first-team offense are statistically unstoppable.
After a one-drive-one-touchdown effort in the preseason opener on Aug. 11 at Tampa, Pickett and the No. 1s produced back-to-back scoring marches before calling in a night in tonight's 27-15 preseason victory over Buffalo.
There was no need for the starting quarterback and the other first-team offensive players to play any longer after helping the Steelers bolt to a 14-0 lead.
"The plan was two series," Pickett confirmed. "Obviously, it went well and went as we hoped.
"Every time you get out there you want to put points on the board, so that's what we did."
They're scoring from distance, as well.
The touchdown in Tampa was a 33-yard, catch-and-run hookup between Pickett and wide receiver George Pickens.
This time the touchdowns came via a 62-yard gallop by running back Jaylen Warren and a 25-yard touchdown pass from Pickett to tight end Pat Freiermuth.
"You want explosive plays, like we've been talking about all off-season," Pickett maintained. "Something that we need to improve on is explosive plays. It's good to have some explosive touchdowns, explosive runs, passes, you name it.
"We want to continue to do that as an offense."
Pickett is 9-for-11 passing for 113 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in three preseason possessions.
"It's good to see all the hard work kinda coming into the games," he said. "Obviously, it's preseason but we put a lot of time in together. You want to come out here and put points up, that's what we're doing.
"We need to continue that, continue to push for perfection."
Game action photos from the Week 2 preseason game vs. the Buffalo Bills