Weighty downs: The Steelers pulled out their second win of the preseason, defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars, 16-15, at TIAA Bank Field.
While the Jaguars won the statistics battle, it was still the Steelers who came out on top.
"I told the guys they (Jacksonville) controlled the football game, but we won the game," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "We got to take responsibility for that positively and negatively. Down in and down out we didn't perform well enough. We didn't perform at a high enough level to control the game.
"I thought their defensive front, in the environment in particular, controlled the game. I thought we had some blown assignments on defense that cost us from a field positioning standpoint. But when you look at it, the weighty downs, oftentimes we talk about downs aren't weighted the same, and that's where we were able to win the football game. We won enough possession downs on defense, particularly when the field got short. We made them settle for three a couple of times."
Game action photos from the Week 2 preseason game at the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field
Two-minute offense: The Steelers found success in areas where they put a lot of focus in practice, including two-minute offense. At the end of the first half, with just 1:05 on the clock, Kenny Pickett drove the offense 63 yards on five plays, connecting with Benny Snell on an 11-yard touchdown.
A similar situation played out in the second half, when Mason Rudolph drove the offense 62 yards on six plays, connecting with Tyler Snead for a one-yard touchdown on fourth-down with just 1:56 to play in the game.
"We functioned in two-minute offense and it was great because we put an extra emphasis on two-minute offense in preparation for this game," said Tomlin. "It's good to see time spent pay off. Seven shot football won the game for us, fourth down at the end and we're appreciative of that."
Despite that success, though, there were areas Tomlin wasn't pleased.
"Down in and down out not good enough by any stretch, but it's good to learn with a W," said Tomlin. "Football is our game, our business is winning. And we got to find ways to win even when we played poorly. And make no mistake, we won because we won the weighty downs. They won significantly more downs than we did. It's good to learn with a W and hopefully we'll do so, but obviously we got some correcting and some things to do based on that performance."
QB Derby: For the second straight week the Steelers went with three quarterbacks, with Mitch Trubisky starting, followed by Pickett and Rudolph.
"I thought Mitch played well," said Tomlin. "I thought he created and extended some things when there wasn't much there. But we got to do a better job of protecting him and having some semblance of a run game if you want a fair evaluation and I'm just being bluntly honest."
Pickett saw the least playing time, in for only two short series, but ball possession played a role in that.
"That is all I planned to play him," said Tomlin. "I would like to possess the ball more in the first half and thus have a bigger body of work. But some things are outside of your control. We've got to get first downs in order for that to happen. Oftentimes when you're not possessing the ball enough there's not enough snaps to go around for everyone, so it can be said for some of the offensive people that we wanted to take a look at. A lack of conversions limits some of that."
Rudolph played the entire second half, leading the Steelers on their game-winning drive, while playing with a large number of backups.
"I thought he looked like a varsity guy in a JV game," said Tomlin. "And I told him that. It was reminiscent of when we had Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich as backups. When you got a veteran guy like that late in the preseason game at the quarterback position, he should be the best player on the field, it should show, and I thought it did."
Tomlin was asked if there would be any change to the team's depth chart at the quarterback position based on preseason performance to date, and he wasn't making any proclamations postgame.
"We'll address depth chart related things over the next couple of days as we zero in on our next opportunity," said Tomlin. "I don't make knee jerk reactions or statements following performances."
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