Cam Sutton was focused on his job, but it wasn't lost on the third-round cornerback from Tennessee that the opportunity to do his job was finally at hand.
"I was kind of in the moment," Sutton said of taking the field for the first time with the Steelers in Saturday night's 19-15 preseason loss to Indianapolis Colts at Heinz Field. "It's obviously surreal just being out there, having the opportunity just to say 'you're in the NFL,' and then just being out there with a great group of guys. And then, especially, to make a play on my first play out there, definitely a surreal moment.
"It's something I just have to keep building off of."
Sutton had missed most of training camp and the Steelers' first two preseason games with a hamstring injury.
Game action photos from the Pittsburgh Steelers' Preseason Week 3 game against the Indianapolis Colts.
But on third-and-5 from the Indianapolis 24-yard line on the third snap of the third quarter, Sutton entered the game as a part of the six-defensive backs "dime" sub-package the Steelers broke out for the first time this preseason in the Colts game.
He was credited with a pass defensed on a throw from quarterback Stephen Morris to wide receiver JoJo Natson and the Colts ended up punting.
The next time the Indianapolis got the ball, Sutton dropped running back Marlon Mack for a 3-yard loss.
Sutton played cornerback, slot-cornerback in the five-defensive backs "nickel" and in the "dime," and afterward expressed an understanding of what it will take to take to turn his first preseason action into "a stepping stone," and to "keep it going from here.
"You start to slow the game down," Sutton explained. "You can't just go out there and try to guard every route or try to decipher every play. You have to kind of limit things down, know what the other guys are thinking and doing out there on the field.
"And then see ball, get ball, have fun and just fly around."
DIALING UP KNILE:** Running back Knile Davis was featured early and often by design.
Davis carried twice and had two passes thrown in his direction on the Steelers' first four offensive snaps on the way to a seven-carry, 21-yard night. Davis also had one catch for 9 yards on two targets.
"I thought he did some good things," quarterback Ben Roethlisberger assessed. "There were some times he probably could have hit it up in the hole a little quicker but I thought overall he did pretty well."
Davis gained 21 yards on his first two carries. His last five went for a combined 0 yards.
Davis also picked up a couple of blitzers during a 14-play, 63-yard drive that produced a 41-yard field goal by Chris Boswell with six seconds left in the first half.
"Getting ready for the season opener," Davis said. "Just gotta fine tune a few things. It's not perfect just yet but we'll get there.
"The mistakes that I made today, I won't make them again."
CORNERBACK ROTATION: Stephon Tuitt started at the cornerback position opposite Artie Burns and played on the Colts' first and third series of the first half. Coty Sensabaugh replaced Cockrell on Indianapolis' second and fourth opportunities with the ball in the first two quarters.
Cockrell started the third quarter.
Sensabaugh was in with Sutton on the Colts' second possession of the third quarter.
Brian Allen and Brandon Dixon were the cornerbacks in the base defense the third time the Colts gained possession in the third quarter.
"We'll evaluate it," head coach Mike Tomlin said of the battle between Cockrell and Sensabaugh to start opposite Burns. "It may even go into next week, we'll continue to look. We'll see what those guys do as we continue to push forward for the opener."
QUICK-HITTERS:** The fumble Roethlisberger lost on the Steelers' first possession was the Steelers' first lost fumble of the preseason … Linebacker Ryan Shazier's interception in the second quarter was the Steelers' fourth of the preseason … Running back James Conner appeared on the kickoff return and punt teams in the first half (the Colts didn't punt). Conner's play on special teams in the Steelers' 17-13 preseason win over Atlanta on Aug. 20 had been characterized as "JV" by Tomlin. Conner also had four carries for 26 yards rushing … Running back Fitz Toussaint was declared out of the game in the third quarter (left leg injury). Toussaint rode an exercise bike on the sideline in the second half … The Steelers ran some no-huddle offense with Roethlisberger in the game, but not much. "We kind of had a very small package in terms of what we were going to do," Roethlisberger said. "Knowing we're playing these guys soon (Nov. 12 in Indianapolis), we didn't want to give too much away. We kept it very minimal."