Steelers Vs Lions Winners And Losers

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Winners and losers of the Pittsburgh Steelers 19-9 beat the Detroit Lions in Sunday afternoon’s preseason finale.

winners

Mitch Trubisky: You look at your quarterback from Week One. That’s not much of a shock of course, Trubisky was the wire-to-wire favorite, but he cemented things today. In particular, with his two-minute drill, going 92 yards on six plays and finishing things off with a TD pass to WR Steven Sims. That should close his place as the team’s No. 1 quarterback for the season. Trubisky consistently pushed the ball to the field with field additions to TE Pat Freiermuth and WR Diontae Johnson. He threw a nice back throw to George Pickens and had a nice deep ball that fell incomplete.

How it will go when the regular season kicks off remains to be seen, but he will take the first picture of the season against the Bengals.

Pat Freiermuth: Freiermuth is as reliable as ever, seemingly a gravitational pull that absorbs any football thrown in its way. He caught three passes for 45 yards in Sunday’s first half, including a 32-yarder way down the middle during the team’s two-minute drill. On his 60 catches a year ago, he had no catch longer than 24 yards. Through two preseason games this summer, he has two receptions that have matched or surpassed that. That will be his biggest change from a year ago.

Mark Robinson: Robinson was drawing Vince Williams equations all week. He reinforced that idea further with a big stick during a first-half kick-off. Robinson had a good summer defensively, but hadn’t made much of an impression on special teams with some negative numbers there. It was good to see his physicality shine on the cover unit. He is a great bet to make the team.

Minka Fitzpatrick: After stalling a but with less overall secondary versatility last year, Fitzpatrick is opening up more depth and experience this summer. He missed the first week of camp with a wrist injury, but is now looking mid-season. He had a great third downbreak in the first half and bagged a safety blitz. The new DC Teryl Austin may be getting more heat out of his safeties – the Steelers crushed a safety against the Jaguars five times.

Cam Heyward: Not that Heyward needed much evaluation in this game, but he was his excellent self. Get rid of blocks in the run game and most importantly knock down a few passes. He set a career high with nine of them a year ago and after doubling down in 2021 and gaining more attention due to the injuries around him, he has found other ways to influence the passing game. The Steelers front did a great job defending the quick pass with four deflections today. Rookie DeMarvin Leal continues to shine with two QBs from him and a pass deflection.

Myles Boykin/Steven Sims: Two guys with a quiet start to the summer, but charged hard at the end. Fast and cunning in the open field, Sims was on the receiving end of Trubisky’s two-minute drive touchdown on Sunday, a short slope for the score. Boykin had a nice problem with Picket’s shoulder and has been given a real role and presence on special teams. For me, Boykin has the advantage, but both guys threw their hats in the ring as part of the Steelers’ deep reception room.

Chris Boswell: A block aside that wasn’t his fault, Boswell was money today, marked by a 54-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter. Now the only kicker on the roster, he went 4/5 today and bounced back after knocking the rust off last week. Pittsburgh will demand a lot from their kicker this year and Boswell is about the best man for the job.

Elijah Riley: A late name for the list and a late name for the team. Riley was brought in this week to replace safety Donovan Stiner. He handled well in the open field and had a late fourth quarter, fourth down breakup. Damontae Kazee’s unfortunate looking wrist injury could open the door for a versatile DB like Riley.

losers

Dan Moore: Was the offensive line a little better today? I think so. The bar was set low. But it is still a long way from where it should be. Moore was the most notable perpetrator. He was called up for a few holds, the last needed to avoid giving up a sack. He seemed to work better in independent hands, but his overall performance looked shaky. Needless to say, he didn’t make the sophomore jump the team needed.

O-line penalties: But Moore wasn’t the only one having issues. Penalties were the line’s biggest problem with four penalties in the first half. Two on Moore, a false start on OG Kevin Dotson and a hold on OT Chukwuma Okorafor. There was also an illegal training call. Absolute drive-killers and one reason why the offense had to settle for three straight field goals for their two-minute drive touchdown.

Third and long defense: A more specific point of criticism, the Steelers’ third down defense wasn’t bad overall. The Lions started the game on 2/8. But the two they gave up were killers, converting on 3rd and 17th with a 27-yard run and 3rd and 12 with an underlying completion that moved the sticks. Those breakdowns were more noticeable after Myles Jack’s comments last week that he needed to win more in the third and long run. That mission is not exactly accomplished today.

Defense second half: It’s a world of difference when TJ Watt and Cam Heyward and Minkah Fitzpatrick aren’t in the game. Detroit had just 48 rushing yards in the first half against four yards per carry. The second half was a complete 180. Until late in the fourth quarter, Pittsburgh allowed 69 yards on nine carries, averaging 7.7 yards per carry with big holes, missed tackles and poor run fits. Some of what the team tackled last season. Not a good note for that unit to go out as they are really trying to flip their run defenses, but the backups were largely the problem.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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