What We Learned in Week #2 in the NFL Preseason:
- Sanchez and Tebow compete for worst QB in New York against the Giants
- Peyton throws 2 INT in Mile High debut
- Replacement officials still stinking up the joints
- Steelers defense picks off Luck twice
In the preseason, final scores don’t mean a whole lot. The stats aren’t even recorded for any kind of official purposes. The main reason for the games is to evaluate the rosters and implement formations and schemes. What is important in the preseason is how the first team offense and defense performs in the limited amount of time they are on the field. Typically, the 3rd game of the preseason will have the starters seeing most of the action but the second week most starters played the majority, if not all, of the first half of the games. Some had success; some have some work to do, and some just plain stink.
Saturday night the defending Super Bowl XLVI Champs took on the most heavily media covered team in the league when the Giants took on the Jets in New Jersey. The attention that has been given the Jets so far this preseason has been nauseating to say the least and with the below average performances by both Sanchez and Tebow against the Giants it begs the question; How much do the Jets have to suck before all the national networks stop covering every minute of them? Neither Sanchez nor Tebow were able to locate the end zone in Met Life Stadium and were sacked a combined 7 times in a 26-3 loss. Now the final score is meaningless in the grand scheme of things, but the fact that neither Jet QB can seem to lead the offense is quite telling to the Jets future this season.
Peyton Manning received his first hit in over a year Saturday night in Denver’s first home preseason game. Fortunately, Manning got right back up and the entire city of Denver breathed a sigh of relief. Unfortunately, Manning went on to throw 2 picks in the 30-10 loss to the Seahawks. To me, Peyton’s arm did not look as strong as it used to be, which is to be expected for being out for so long. Peyton ended up 16-23 for 177 yards.
The replacement officials are now slated to most likely begin the regular season and I’m not sure if enough people are worried. There is a huge player safety issue, as well as watching the quality of games while replacement refs can’t seem to handle something as simple as the coin flip. Apparently labor talks between the refs union and the NFL are still deadlocked and I can’t help but wonder how much money could these refs possibly want that good ole Rogeez Goodell is willing to sacrifice the game for these replacement refs? I can’t help but feel like Rogeez is floating the “But the regular officials get calls wrong all the time” excuse whenever the inadequacy of these replacement refs is exposed. Seriously? That’s your best excuse? Real refs make bad calls all the time so it’s ok to put the players’ safety and the quality of the highest grossing sport on the planet in the hands of Joe Mama ref whose football officiating experience includes the highly contested yearly battle between Nowhere State University and Whatsamatta U?
The Steelers took to Heinz Field for the first time this preseason to take on #1 draft pick Andrew Luck and the Colts. The Steelers offense sputtered early with Ben getting picked off on the first 3rd down. Then the defense took over and Ike Taylor stepped in front of a pass to pick off Luck and run it back 49 yards for a touchdown. The Steelers had another 57 yard touchdown run, this time by Antonio Brown who took a short (dare I say bubble screen) pass from Roethlisberger and ran it back the 57 yards with help from blocking from Heath Miller and Baron Batch. Brown flipped into the end zone to give the Steelers the 14-0 lead. Unfortunately, following that, the Colts went on to put together back to back 80 yard drives and go into halftime with the 17-14 lead. Andrew Luck was picked off twice by the Steelers defense, once by Taylor and another by Cortez Allen, but was able to shake off those picks in un-rookie like fashion.
In the position battles featured in game 2 of the preseason Cortez Allen got the pick, where Keenan Lewis had at least a couple near picks. The other position battle is for the 3rd QB spot on the roster between longtime Steeler favorite Charlie Batch and Jerrod Johnson. Batch went in first after Ben’s night was done and completed the first deep pass under the Haley offense. I realize there is no Mike Wallace yet and this is preseason, meaning we won’t see all the offensive schemes Haley has to offer but there have been a whole lot of screens and short passes to the RB’s in my opinion. Both Batch and Johnson led late drives resulting in field goals as the Steelers offense seems to be continuing their redzone inefficiency so far. As expected, Coach Tomlin said he was happy with the win but there is much more work to be done. This Saturday, the Steelers will travel to Buffalo for the third preseason game.
A few highlights of last night’s game were LaMarr Woodley returning to form and getting an early sack on Andrew Luck, Mike Adams stepping in at LT in the second quarter and creating room for Dwyer to take a 23 yard run, and Chris Rainey, although coughing up the ball early, impressed on punt returns. Ben played only 4 series and went 5 for 9 with 81 yards 1 touchdown and one pick. The preseason is about to heat up with the third preseason game and the first round of mandatory cuts to be made shortly thereafter.
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