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Postgame Takes

Tomlin on Najee, special teams and fans

Making his debut: Rookie running back Najee Harris, the team's No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, made his debut against the Cowboys, finishing the night with seven carries for 22 yards, a 3.1-yard average while seeing action only in the first half. He also had one reception for three yards.

Coach Mike Tomlin liked what he saw from his young running back, showing in game action what he has been showing during training camp practices.

"I thought that he showed some of the things that he's been showing in practice settings," said Tomlin. "That's what we were looking for. We weren't looking for the spectacular. I talked to him and others during the course of the week. We wanted to make routine plays, routinely. We wanted the pile to fall forward and things of that nature. He did all of the things we've been watching him do. It's a really good start for him."

Game action photos from the Hall of Fame game vs. the Dallas Cowboys at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, OH

Special delivery: The Steelers had some nice plays from their special teams unit, including from punter Pressley Harvin, who is battling Jordan Berry for the job, and Matthew Sexton in the return game.

Harvin had four punts for 183 yards, a 45.5-yard average, including three inside the 20-yard line and one the Cowboys fumbled, and the Steelers recovered.

Sexton returned a punt 36 yards to the Cowboys 33-yard line and the Steelers converted it into a field goal to take a 6-3 lead, one they would hold on to.

"Pressley did some nice things. I thought they all did some nice things," said Tomlin. "I thought Sexton's was a big punt return. I thought it ignited us. I don't know that we had done much offensively to then. That was a springboard for us moving forward. I just liked the efforts and energy of a lot of people. (Calvin) Bundage made a couple of tackles on kickoff. I thought that was good to see.

"We have to comb through that in a big way. It's about the minutia. It's not necessarily about the things that jump out at you."

Bringing the energy: Tomlin noticed the difference on Thursday night in Canton, Ohio. And it wasn't a difference that happened on the field.

For the first time since the 2019 season the Steelers played a game in front of a full house at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in the Pro Football Hall of Fame game.

The Steelers defeated the Dallas Cowboys, 16-3, in front of 20,113 fans, the majority of them waving Terrible Towels.

"I liked the enthusiasm and the energy the guys played with," said Tomlin. "I think that is important. We were able to carry energy into the stadium.

"I don't think any of us missed the fact that having a stadium full of fans, what that does. The energy that the stands and the fans provided us. Being without out that largely for over a year, it was good to be back in that type of football environment. We're appreciative of that."

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