What went right, wrong vs. Minnesota


* The Vikings took the ball on their opening possession and moved the ball smartly down the field, aided by some missed tackles by the Steelers defense, until they found themselves with a third-and-9 from the Pittsburgh 18-yard line. Teddy Bridgewater dumped a pass to Jarius Wright, who appeared to have a clear path down the middle of the field for a first down, but Lawrence Timmons came up and stopped him 1 yard short of the sticks. On fourth down, Ryan Shazier blew up an attempted running play up the middle and the Steelers took over on downs.

  • Late in the first quarter, following a pre-snap penalty that set up a third-and-14 late in the first quarter, Dri Archer took a handoff and made a nice quick move to spring himself into the open field before gaining 15 yards and a first down at the Pittsburgh 41-yard line.
  • On a fourth-and-1 later in the same possession, the Steelers converted when Cameron Stingily made at cut at the line of scrimmage to find a hole for a 4-yard gain that gave Pittsburgh a first down at the Minnesota 46-yard line.
  • The Steelers defense came onto the field after the turnover and allowed 8 yards on the first two plays to set up a third-and-2 for the Vikings. When Mike Kafka dropped back to pass, a blitzing Brandon Boykin jumped up and batted the pass down. Then Blair Walsh came in and missed a 48-yard field goal attempt.
  • A nice series by the Steelers defense on the ensuing Vikings possession. Matt Asiata was stopped after a 2-yard run by Stephon Tuitt and Alden Darby; Brandon Boykin came up and dumped TE MyCole Pruitt for no gain after a short pass completion; and then on third down Ryan Shazier made a diving attempt at an interception but was ruled to have trapped the ball.
  • Shakim Phillips made a one-handed grab on a dead sprint of a pass from Landry Jones down the seam for a 35-yard gain to the Vikings' 16-yard line midway through the second quarter. That play was the big gain on the drive that ended with a 36-yard field goal that gave the Steelers a 3-0 lead with 8:23 remaining in the first half.
  • Walsh's second kickoff went 4 yards deep into the end zone. Dri Archer brought it out and showed good burst over the right side to return the ball 34 yards to the Steelers 30-yard line.
  • More Archer on the same series. It was a third-and-10 when Archer caught a dump-off pass from Landry Jones, made one tackle miss and out-ran another on the way to a 14-yard gain to the Vikings' 43-yard line.
  • One of the points of emphasis for officials this season is to call pass interference on defensive backs who use what's known as an arm-bar. That's what the officials called on CB Trae Waynes, who was covering Sammie Coates deep down the right sideline. The penalty came in the end zone and gave the Steelers the ball at the Minnesota 1-yard line.

* The only thing that went right for the Steelers at the opening of the game was they won the coin toss. Electing to receive, Dri Archer watched Blair Walsh's kickoff sail over the end line. On first down, Landry Jones completed a pass for no gain; Cameron Stingily got stuffed on a second down run; and then a delay of game penalty set up a third and long. A screen pass to Archer set up Brad Wing's punt.

  • The Steelers had a pre-snap penalty on each of their first two offensive series. The first time it was a delay of game, and the second one was a false start on Marcus Gilbert that came about because the Steelers were on the verge of being called for another delay of game.

The Pittsburgh Steelers took on the Minnesota Vikings to kick off the 2015 preseason in the NFL/Pro Football Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio.

  • On a third-and-5 on the first play of the second quarter, Landry Jones completed a short pass to C.J. Goodwin who got enough yardage for the first down, but he fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Antone Exum, who returned it 32 yards to the Pittsburgh 37-yard line.
  • On an 18-yard run by Matt Asiata to the Pittsburgh 48-yard line, Bud Dupree got outflanked when the running back bounced it outside and around the right end. A couple of plays later, TE MyCole Pruitt started on the right side of the formation and ran all the way across the field to get behind OLB Shayon Green on the other side of the field to catch a 34-yard touchdown pass unmolested to give the Vikings a 7-3 lead with 4:20 remaining in the first half.
  • With a first-and-goal at the Vikings 1-yard line, the Steelers failed in four tries to get the ball in the end zone, and a some of that was due to a couple of passes that should have been caught but weren't. On third down, Devin Gardner had a Landry Jones pass go through his hands, and on fourth down, Jesse James dropped a ball when he was all alone just a step out of the end zone.
  • A 9-yard run by Jawon Chisholm was nullified by a holding penalty on Jesse James that set up a first-and-16 at the Steelers 7-yard line midway through the third quarter.

*The worst development of the game came on the second half kickoff when Shaun Suisham injured a knee helping to make a tackle on Marcus Sherels following a 32-yard return.

  • Jordan Berry's second punt traveled 57 yards where it was fielded by Stefon Diggs, who first escaped Jordan Zumwalt and then returned it 62 yards to the Steelers 1-yard line where a hustling Kevin Fogg made a touchdown-saving tackle. But on the next play Joe Banyard made it official with an easy trip through the Steelers defense for the 1-yard touchdown that gave the Vikings a 14-3 lead late in the third quarter.
  • More bad for Jesse James. One play after Kevin Fogg's interception gave the Steelers the ball at the Vikings 34-yard line, a Landry Jones pass to James was stolen out of his grasp by linebacker Brian Peters to give the ball back to the Vikings at the Minnesota 24-yard line. It was ruled a completion and a lost fumble.
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