Sunday, August 16, 2015

Steelers' offense shows it will be fun to watch in preseason loss

Jeremy Fowler, ESPN Senior NFL Writer
August 14, 2015

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throws a 44-yard touchdown pass against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Friday, Aug. 14, 2015, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

A few thoughts on the Pittsburgh Steelers' 23-21 loss Friday to the Jacksonville Jaguars:
What it means: The Steelers' first-team offense got one series together, and clearly it didn't need more than that. Offensive momentum is still rolling from last season. That's been the case all camp. Once again, Martavis Bryantreminded of his enormous potential with a 44-yard touchdown catch, blowing past Jacksonville's big free agent signing Davon House. The offensive line gave Roethlisberger a ton of time on his touchdown, and the right side sealed the edge for a 16-yard rush. Overall, the offense looked as polished as advertised.
Stat of note, Part I: In the first half, Jaguars quarterbacks Blake Bortles andChad Henne completed 15 of their first 19 passes (78.9 percent) for 165 yards against mostly first-team Steelers defenders. Not an inspiring look for Pittsburgh when Jacksonville had plenty of open windows to throw into the zone defense.
Stat of note, Part II: No need to overreact to preseason special teams work, but this is the second straight week the Steelers have given up a punt return of at least 35 yards after Jags returner Rashad Greene gained 37 yards late in the second quarter. Expect a healthy dose of special teams drills in the final week of camp.
Injuries of note: Running back Josh Harris suffered a left foot injury in the second half and did not return. Harris finished with 8 yards on two carries. He already missed part of camp with a shoulder injury.
What's next: The Steelers face the Packers at 1 p.m. Aug. 23 in Heinz Field. The storied franchises have played twice in the last five years, with one win apiece. With Aaron Rodgers winning MVP and Roethlisberger throwing for 4,952 yards last year, this pairing will always be enjoyable to watch.

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