Bob Labriola with his thoughts on "what went right, wrong" at New Orleans.
What went right
- One play after being unaware that the ball was coming to him with the result being an incomplete pass, Eli Rogers converted a third-and-10 with some extra effort on his run after a catch to keep the Steelers drive alive on the opening possession.
- With some nifty movement to slide in the pocket, Ben Roethlisberger created space and completed a 5-yard pass to Jesse James to cap a 14-play, 74-yard touchdown drive. The scoring play came on a third-and-goal.
- Stats by the stars on that opening drive for a touchdown: Roethlisberger completed 8-of-12 for 60 yards and the 5-yard touchdown to Jesse James. One of those incomplete passes bounced off James' hands and another was the play where Rogers wasn't paying attention. Le'Veon Bell carried twice for 16 yards and caught a pass for 13 more. Antonio Brown caught two passes for 15 yards.
- The Saints went three-and-out on their opening possession. On third down, Drew Brees was forced up into the pocket by the pass rush, and Mark Ingram dropped a short pass to force a punt.
- It was a third-and-3, and with the Saints expecting Antonio Brown to run a possession route to get the first down, he turned and ran up the sideline where he caught a perfect pass from Ben Roethlisberger and completed the 57-yard catch-and-run for the touchdown that upped the Steelers lead to 14-0.
- On a fourth-and-7 near midfield with about 5 minutes remaining in the second quarter, the Saints opted to go for it. Luke McCown's short pass to RB Travaris Cadet gained only 4 yards with Ryan Shazier and Mike Mitchell combining to keep him short of the first down.
- On the 11-play, 61-yard drive that ended with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Sammie Coates, Landry Jones completed 6-of-8 for 51 yards (one drop) and the score. He also converted all three of the third-down situations with completed passes. That gave the Steelers a 21-7 lead with less than two minutes left in the half.
- In the first half, Ben Roethlisberger completed 12-of-17 for 148 yards, with two touchdowns, no interceptions, and a rating of 136.4. Landry Jones was 12-for-15 for 116 yards, with one touchdown, no interceptions, and a rating of 121.1.
- On the second snap of the second half, rookie Javon Hargrave recorded his first NFL sack. He made a quick move to get around center Jack Allen to sack Garrett Grayson to set the stage for a Saints punt two plays later.
- Two guys who were in line for a lot of criticism for the events of last week's preseason loss to the Eagles combined on a big play early in the third quarter to put the Steelers in scoring position. Landry Jones lofted a perfect pass to Sammie Coates, who hauled it in for what turned into a 58-yard gain to the New Orleans 20-yard line.
- A 10-yard catch-and-run by Xavier Grimble converted a third-and-9 and gave the Steelers a first down at the Saints 11-yard line, but the play was nullified by a penalty on B.J. Finney for being downfield illegally. Two plays later, the Steelers settled for a 40-yard field goal by Chris Boswell that gave them a 24-14 lead with 3:02 remaining in the third quarter.
- There was some football justice on a third-and-1 and then a fourth-and-1 from the Steelers 10-yard line a few plays after Doran Grant's fumble recovery was nullified by a penalty on Vince Williams. On both of those plays – both attempted runs by the Saints – Williams was in on the tackles, and both runs were stopped for no gain. The Steelers took over on downs at their own 10-yard line with a 24-14 lead.
- With the Steelers holding a 24-14 lead and the Saints in full catch-up mode, interceptions by linebackers Steven Johnson and then Tyler Matakevich on successive possessions late in the fourth quarter prevented New Orleans from eating into that 10-point margin.
What went wrong
Game action from the Pittsburgh Steelers' third preseason game against the New Orleans Saints.
- A holding penalty called on Maurkice Pouncey nullified a very nice gain on a middle screen to tight end Jesse James.
- It was a third-and-18 from the New Orleans 30-yard line on the Steelers' third offensive possession. Landry Jones completed a short pass to Le'Veon Bell, who lost a fumble at the Saints 22-yard line. That prevented Chris Boswell from attempting a 39-yard field goal.
- A kickoff return by Daryl Richardson out to the 37-yard line was nullified by a holding penalty on Jordan Dangerfield. The Steelers instead began their drive at their own 20-yard line.
- The Steelers lost a takeaway on an unnecessary roughness penalty on Vince Williams that sure looked to be a legal hit on replay. Williams drove his shoulder into RB Daniel Lasco to cause a fumble that Doran Grant recovered and returned into Saints territory. The penalty nullified the takeaway and gave the Saints a first down at the Steelers 30-yard line.