The Steelers improved their preseason record to 2-0 with a 24-17 win over the New York Giants at the New Meadowlands Stadium.
"A lot of things we can get better at and we could have done better tonight," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "That is what the preseason and the remainder of the preseason is about. We intend to work on a lot of things in those areas."
Ben Roethlisberger started the game for the Steelers getting his first playing time of the preseason. Roethlisberger completed six of eight passes for 76 yards, one interception and a passer rating of 64.6.
"The first time out for him I thought he did some nice things," said Tomlin. "He moved us. It was a good start."
Roethlisberger played 20 snaps, which Tomlin was pleased with the time for it being his first outing.
"For the first time out, he got what he would have gotten had it been like last week under normal circumstances and the starters going out playing for his first time out," said Tomlin. "That was our intention. He probably got a little more than that because one of those drives ended in an interception and we weren't going to let him walk off like that. He got a decent amount of work. It was good for him. We will see where we go from here."
Roethlisberger completed his first pass attempt of the game to Heath Miller for eight yards. He went right back to Miller for 12 yards, then connected with Rashard Mendenhall for eight yards before the Steelers were forced to punt on their opening drive.
Roethlisberger was intercepted by Corey Webster on the next drive on an underthrown pass to speedster Mike Wallace.
"It was fun. It was fun getting back out there with the guys," said Roethlisberger. "I think we did pretty good. We had a couple of negative plays, obviously the pick. It came off my hand wrong. Other than that it was good to be back out there and I think we showed some good things."
Roethlisberger returned for the team's third series, completing an 18-yard pass to tight end Matt Spaeth. He went back to Miller for a 13-yard reception and then hit Antwaan Randle El for a 17-yard gain to the nine-yard line. A two-yard sack and incomplete pass brought on kicker Jeff Reed for the game's first score, a 26-yard field goal.
Byron Leftwich entered the game with 7:09 to play in the first half, but it was a quick three-and-out on his first drive. He got into the swing of things on the next drive, hitting Wallace for a 12-yard gain to the 32-yard line. Leftwich then went deep for Wallace, hitting him in stride for a 68-yard touchdown.
Leftwich drove the Steelers down to the one-yard line on the final drive of the half, but was stopped short of the goal line when he tried to take it in himself and time expired in the half.
Leftwich finished completing three of six passes for 95 yards, one touchdown and a passer rating of 135.4.
Dennis Dixon continues to impress in the preseason. Dixon completed seven of eight passes for 82 yards and a quarterback rating of 109.4. Dixon also used his ability to scramble with five carries for 27 yards.
Isaac Redman looked like his night might end early when he left the game with a rib injury after a six-yard carry early in the second half. He wasn't out for long though, returning to action and scoring on a 12-yard touchdown run eight plays later.
Tomlin praised the effort of rookie Antonio Brown who returned punts and kickoffs. Brown returned four punts for 43 yards, a 10.8-yard average and two kickoffs for 50 yards, a 25-yard average. He also was pleased with Dan Sepulveda, who kicked off five times, one in the end zone.
Roethlisberger weighed in on a few players he had the chance to watch in the game, including rookie center Maurkice Pouncey.
"He's doing a great job. He's really come a long way," said Roethlisberger. "Every day it seems like he grows and gets a little bit better Center is a tough position on this team because of a lot of identification. He is doing such a great job and Justin (Hartwig) is really helping him."
He also shared his thoughts on Dixon's performance and the excitement he brings to the offense.
"It's fun, especially when he takes off running. I always think something special is going to happen when he does that," said Roethlisberger. "He does a good job at quarterback - he sits in the pocket, makes some good passes and takes off when he has to. When he does, it's electric."
Cornerback Ike Taylor was ejected from the game early in the first quarter for fighting with Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks. Keenan Lewis came into the game for him.
"There are certain things we will not tolerate, even in the preseason, like post-snap penalties," said Tomlin, who characterized Taylor's penalty as dumb. "That's Steelers beating Steelers. We're smarter than that. We have to be smarter than that. That was very disappointing."