Watt, Steelers route Giants, 20-12, in preseason opener

Posted on Aug 12 2017 - 1:31pm by Rachael McKriger
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Photo of the Pittsburgh Steelers courtesy of Julio Cortez/Associated Press.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back – for preseason football, that is.

Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and many of their other – and new – teammates headed to New Jersey for their Friday night football game against the New York Giants.

Roethlisberger didn’t appear in the game, instead, giving Mike Tomlin a chance to look at rookie quarterback Joshua Dobbs.

Dobbs was the Steelers’ 135th overall pick, in the fourth round, during the 2017 NFL Draft. Dobbs didn’t impress in the game, throwing two interceptions.

Before the game, Roethlisberger did give Dobbs some advice.

“Make sure you throw the ball to our color,” Dobbs said, referring to his pregame speech from the veteran quarterback.

Dobbs did complete eight passes, out of 15, and threw a touchdown to Cobi Hamilton. Hamilton led the receivers with two catches for 72 yards.

“Adversity hit, but I was proud I was able to respond to that,” Dobbs said. “It’s part of the game. You have to stay upbeat, you have to have confidence in yourself and be ready to respond because your teammates are looking at you, your coaches are looking at you to see how you respond in those situations.”

After the game, head coach Mike Tomlin noted that he knew there would be some trial and error.

“From a performance standpoint it’s been up and down,” said Tomlin, referring to Dobbs. “Not surprised by that. It’s a natural part of the maturation process. I do like the look in his eye, his level of communication in the midst of it all. From that standpoint it’s very encouraging.”

“Good start for us. Good to get the win,” continued Tomlin. “A lot to learn from. We’ll comb through it with the men. A lot of good contributions, guys put physical conditioning on display. Some positivity to build upon as we move forward.”

The Steelers had a second touchdown scored, in the fourth quarter, from running back Terrell Watson. He led the running backs with 10 carries for 44 yards.

As for their additional points, the Steelers had two field goals converted by Chris Boswell from 48 and 37 yards. Boswell also converted both extra point attempts.

As for the Giants, Eli Manning sat out and let Geno Smith and Davis Webb contribute to the offense. Smith started the game, completing 10/16 passes for 114 yards.

Smith didn’t throw a single touchdown, and neither did Webb. Instead, Mike Nugent and Aldrick Rosas both converted two field goal attempts each for 12 points.

Smith threw one interception in the game, falling into the hands of linebacker Arthur Moats. Moats also recorded three sacks, four solo tackles and two assists tackles. His sacks led the Steelers defense.

Also earning sacks were T.J. Watt (two), Mike Hilton and Farrington Huguenin.

After the game, Moats praised the work of Watts, the Steelers first-round draft pick.

“Phenomenal,’’ Moats said. “From time he’s come in, OTAs and training camp, he hasn’t been overwhelmed by any day. You saw it out here today; the first two pass rushes he gets, he gets sacks on and played a phenomenal game. He had a great start to his career and he’s only going to get better.”

Notably, the Steelers saw Martavis Bryant out on the field, in uniform, during pregame warm ups. However, Bryant did not participate in the game, and is waiting for his time to return.

Last year, Bryant missed the entire season, due to violating the NFL’s Substance Abuse Policy.

The Steelers will return to training camp on Sunday, and according to Steelers, Bryant will participate in his first training camp practice.

“We are going to put our foot on the gas and proceed,” said Tomlin. “He is physically ready. We’ve got the go-ahead from New York. We gave him an extended workout and warm-up tonight. We didn’t deem it was appropriate because of lack of prep to play in this game. He will start like the rest of them when we get back to Latrobe and continue with development.”

The next preseason game for the Steelers will be at Heinz Field on August 20, against the Atlanta Falcons. The game is expected to kick off at 4 p.m.

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