Sustaining drives a key: It took until the third quarter for the Steelers offense to put points on the board against the Philadelphia Eagles in their 31-21 loss at Lincoln Financial Field on Thursday night, and when they did finally score it was against the Eagles' second team defense.
It wasn't the way the players wanted what is often considered to be the most important preseason game to go, but at the same time they know it's not indicative of their overall offense.
"There are some things we need to work on," said tight end Heath Miller. "Often times it's never as bad as you think it is and it's never as good as you think. Hopefully that is the case.
"We didn't play very well. It took us three quarters to get on the board. I think we would all agree we are better than that. We will see where we need to get better and where we fell short."
One of the areas the offense faltered was on third down efficiency. At halftime they converted only three of seven first down attempts, finishing the game converting six of 12.
"That is what sustains drives, keeps us on the field," said Miller. "I think we could have run the ball better. We have to be more consistent running the ball to put us in better third down situations so we can stay on the field. We were on the verge of points several times and we didn't finish it off."
Showing his emotions: Everyone is accustomed to Troy Polamalu's unbridled passion on the field, where his emotions take over once his helmet is on. But off the field, in the locker room and even on the sidelines, you don't often see Polamalu showing such emotion. Until last Thursday against the Philadelphia Eagles that is.
An emotional Polamalu was spotted on the sidelines letting his displeasure with the defensive play be known, something that doesn't happen often but isn't necessarily a bad thing.
"He just shows he cares," said defensive end Cam Heyward. "You can appreciate that. I hope everybody appreciates that because you don't hear from him often. We just have to use it to our advantage. We have guys that really care about this defense, guys who have been in this defense, and it's up to everybody to play with that sense of pride and continue to go out and do it.
"We just have to put it out there on the field. When someone wants more from you, the whole defense has to step up. If anybody is going to do it, I appreciate Troy doing it. He has been in this. It's not like he is going to take plays off, he wants to be great now and everybody wants to be great now."