Steelers Vs. Giants: Winners And Losers

The Pittsburgh Steelers lost their preseason opener Saturday night to the New York Giants and after one pass back through the game replay, here is just a small sampling of some winners and losers for you to chew on.

Fell free to add your own in the comments below.


Sean Spence – There’s no way that you can leave Spence off of the winners list. He’s made it back to the field following an injury two years ago that has ended the career of other players in the past and he chipped in three total tackles.

Howard Jones – Jones’ path to the 53 man roster will more than likely include him being a primary special teams player and he certainly took that first step Saturday night. Jones was not only in on the opening kickoff tackle, he also recovered a muffed punt midway through the third quarter that led to a field goal. Jones also scored the Steelers only touchdown in the game after he alertly picked up a pass that was ruled as being backwards fumble that outside linebacker Vic So’oto had a hand in knocking down.

Shamarko Thomas – Mr. Headache came ready to hit Saturday night. He had four tackles against the Giants with all four coming four yards or less from the line of scrimmage. One of his tackles resulted in a loss and it looked like a play that fellow safety Troy Polamalu would make.

Josh Mauro – The undrafted defensive end saw the field before Brian Arnfelt did, so that in itself is pretty interesting. Mauro did not look robotic at all and on two plays that I saw, he used his arms well to get separation and off of blocks. He had two tackles and one hurry, so overall I thought it was a good showing.

Dri Archer – Two rushes for nine yards and two catches for another 50 is a great start for the rookie. He has some development to do as a punt returner and it’s too bad we didn’t get to see him return any kickoffs.


Martavis Bryant – First game jitters? Perhaps, but Bryant certainly didn’t have a good first showing. While the Clemson product did draw two penalties in the game, his two bobbled punts and fumble on the final drive following his lone catch can’t be ignored.

Cameron Heyward – Heyward allowed himself to be swallowed up and washed out completely on the long touchdown run by Giants running back Rashad Jennings.

Bruce Gradkowski – Gradkowski did complete eight of his 12 passes, but had two really bad throws in the game. The most noticeable one was on a seam route to tight end Matt Spaeth that would have easily been a touchdown. The Steelers came away with no points on that drive.

Shaun Suisham – Suisham missed a 38-yard field goal following the bad pass from Gradkowski to Spaeth and that won’t sit well with the fan base after he just signed that big contract extension.

Will Allen – Zero tackles and a poor, poor angle on the run by Jennings.

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • Matt Anderson

    No Mike Adams as a loser? Or is our expectation is he was going to suck so his god awful performance today was just status quo? :)

  • HecklerSpray

    You picked the wrong specialist to point out. Brad Wing was short on everything. And while Gradkowski was bad, his pass to Wheaton in that same drive you list above is something Landry Jones can only dream of doing.


    That was one of the lamest preseason games I have ever seen. That being said, I agree with you about Archer. He looked like he wasn’t phased at all by being a rookie and having to play his first game in N.Y. This kid has game. He popped right up after taking pretty good hits. I also agree with you about Spence. I can’t even believe this guy is back on the football field. He’s a true fighter. Glad to have him back in the mix. Well, Moye caught some passes, but couldn’t really get going. He was smothered every time he caught one. He did miss an important pass over the middle toward the end of the game, but the ball was thrown a little high and had too much velocity on it. As for M. Bryant, he looks like your average receiver. I don’t see him developing into a superstar, but I could be wrong considering all these guys need to play a lot more football before I can come to any real conclusions. I’m just happy that when Foster went down, it wasn’t any kind of knee or ankle injury. We came away from a meaningless game with no real injuries. That’s always a plus. On to next week.

  • AzheDraven

    Are we winners because we got football?
    I think some OL guys deserve to be losers. I dont remember who it was, but they could even get Landry to throw a pass. I think a RT forgot how to block. Mike Adams? Need to watch that again.

  • AzheDraven

    Was Wing that bad? I think he is way better than what we got last year haha.

  • frednash

    Spence is to little for inside linebacker

    So Vince Williams might be slower

    But he never gets swallowed up

    Can’t wait to see 50 play !

  • Michel Smiffi

    No Isaah Green on the losers?

  • Rod Hedrick

    Lets hope we can keep the Oline and Ben healty otherwise it could be a long year.

  • NastyN8

    I have a Loser play that both teams ran very similarly, but the results were drastically different. When the Steelers Qb. Bruce G. booted to the right and Heath released to the flat on the same side, but after receiving the pass was immediately hit below the waist on a very solid tackle by Aaron Ross. Then it was the Giants turn and they boot left and their TE releases to the flat same side, receives the pass, and gets like 12-15 YAC.

    My concern for our defense is who missed their assignment to either guard the flat or man that TE to cut that play to a no gain or 3 yard catch?

    On offense I think Heath is reliable enough to be used more vertically like a Jason Witten. Why even give him those flat routes?? Were we hoping that he’d get matched against a LB and hopes he would have a step on him?

  • Steelers@2010

    I agree, the O/L on that team is pathetic! And that’s being quite generous too. I don’t who to blame, the scouts, coaching staff, Head Coach, GM? Maybe a combination of all of them. But the 2nd and 3rd team guys look like garbage. Time for the organization to reevaluate the way they scout their O/L and D/B’s. As for Martavis Bryant, I was really disappointed with the young man’s performance, if he continues to struggle like that, I can’t see them justifying keeping a WR that raw over over Moye. But it’s just the 1st game, on a positive note, the 1st team Offense didn’t look bad at all. But after those guys, the Steelers have nothing. And can they PLEASE find a half way decent Backup QB?

  • Burgh Ball

    T.Poole – I put him in as a winner.. Nice Special Team player, caught the ball and ran ok too behind a lousy 2nd string Oline. Kid was around the ball or making the tackle on ST all night. Dont know who is worse Whimper or Adams at OT.. At Least Adams can run block on occasion.

  • Wing t

    I thought dangerfield and zumwalt had the best hits of the night.

  • RW

    Stephon Tuitt seemed to hold his own against the first team D, as did cam thomas. Isaiah Green has to be on the loser list. He had a worse game than Bryant in my opinion. Other than the Kong run, the starting dbacks had a good game, not allowing a pass to be completed for the first quarter. Also, Jarvis Jones with a sack is refreshing. Also agree with Will Allen being on here – I think dangerfield gets his spot on the 53.

  • joed32

    I would throw S. Thomas in there too.

  • joed32

    Bryant won’t be returning any more punts.

  • CrazyTerry

    As one of the few who didnt like the extension to Suisham, I gotta say, as long as he gets his misses in preseason, I dont care.
    Heyward will be fine. It’s preseason. part of his game is that game time motor which is not at full force in preseason.

    We have had many OL coaches. So let us stop scapegoating the OL coahces. TIme to fire the scouts responsible. Steelers used to have great scouts. I dont know if other teams scouts have caught up mullifying the advantage they used to have or these guys just got complacent?

  • mlc43

    People getting waayyyyy to freaked out over the first PRE season game. My Wow.

  • Big D

    Good list. I would also add Vince Williams to the list of winners.

  • Kurt Williams

    I don’t get having a 6’4 receiver returning punts? Especially without much experience.

  • Big D

    Who’s freaked out?

  • cp72

    I thought Stephon Tuitt looked good. I also love the physical nature of the 1st team offense. DeCastro looked real good. The were getting good push and the Giants never really stopped the first team offense.

    Mike Adams needs to be cut he is a waste of a roster spot. He is the worst left tackle I have ever seen.

  • kakello34

    In fairness to Gradkowski, he was running for his life tonight as the second team o-line was horrible.

  • cp72

    Come on it’s Bryant’s first game. Give the kid at least the preseason before we start calling him a bust. He’s a raw guy that’s going to require some patience.

  • mlc43

    I’m hoping that you haven’t been reading the boards after the the game because there have been many, many people getting way to freaked out. I’m referring to only the boards on here as well. Just read some more articles and you’ll see what I mean.

  • mlc43

    I thought the Lance Moore fade was a strange play call as well. I think they can safely take that out of the playbook, lol.

  • Virdin Barzey

    Exactly. Why are we throwing fade in the end zone to Lance Moore? That might be a Ben issue since at times he does dumb stuff like trying to keep his receivers happy by giving them touches instead of hitting the open man.

    And why do we have Bryant over 6 feet returning punts? I know its the first preseason game.

  • 2443scott

    i was really upset in gradkowskis play he looked like a rookie not a back up …why he was so bad i dont know jones was better then him ….kicking wasnt up to power either….i can forgive most things in 3rd n 4th periods because they were back ups trying for spots on team …i really didnt like haleys play calling again i will be glad when ben has the reins and can over ride haleys calls …special teams seemed pretty soild even got a td they seem to get to where ball is…this was the 2nd game for the giants so they were past the first game jitters and had game exp under there belt..the last td by giants was a mismatch painter has more exp then all the steelers playing in that series..all in all i thought they did ok …steelers have backup qb problems they need to get a qb out of next 2 drafts who can take over when ben retires….

  • Paul Barracliffe

    Oh MY Lord!!!

  • Paul Barracliffe

    Well you missed 3 losers but I am happy not to think about them.

  • HardPunkKore

    Not sure there was a missed assignment there, just a good play by the safety not named Aaron Ross. It was a pretty good player in Antrel Rolle, pro bowler from last year.

  • steeltown

    Yep, W.Allen did not have a good game, neither did the 2nd Team OL, specifically the Tackles Adams and Whimper. I thought Gradkowski had an OK showing, if he had hit up with Spaeth on that near TD he would probably be in the “winners” column and although Bryant had a few really bad plays I do really like how he drew penalties, especially that long PI that got us down on near the goal line.

    Agree with all of the winners, but I’d add Jarvis Jones, VW and Zumwalt

  • steeltown

    Agreed. He showed well with the two things that I was concerned about, which is placement and holding. As you mentioned he placed that one ball inside the 5yd line but it bounced back to the 12 before being downed and he seemed very capable as a place holder for Suisham as well…. good showing minus that poor strange punt

  • Eric MacLaurin

    I don’t agree with the call on Bryant. I think we’re getting a little carried away with our expectations from rookies.

    He showed me that he can play against anyone. He also showed me he isn’t a punt returner.

    I think it’s important to look at what young players do well and how they improve instead of looking for imperfection. Great players are going to make mistakes as they develop. You want to see players show they have the ability to play and while mistakes have killed a lot of careers, you can’t evaluate players in or before their first preseason game based on their consistency.

    I think he showed he’s going to be very good but that, as expected, he needs to develop. I would have rather seen Ben throw to him over Moore in the 1st qtr.

  • ScottBB

    #10 was clearly the biggest loser. Not impressed with him at all.

  • steeltown

    Whimper almost got him killed too

  • ScottBB

    He would be #2 on my list but I’m not sure he’s going to play much of a role in the future of the team so that could be why he’s left off.

  • steeltown


  • steeltown

    Once the 1st Team OLine left it was pretty poor Football, Gradkowski and Landry both were running for their lives..and keep in mind that this was NYG 2nd game so their 1st Teams played longer, their 1st Team Defense was going up against Grad and our 2nd Team OLine for awhile. I wouldn’t read too much into the play calling, they don’t even game plan for these first preseason games

  • steeltown

    I liked the huge PI call he got, we’ve been missing that aspect for yrs

  • steeltown

    Agreed. I liked the penalties he drew. People are forgetting this kid literally only started 12 maybe 13 games in college. He’s very raw.

  • Steelers12328882

    No Offensive lineman as losers? Was that because they were collectively horrible lol? Glad to see Mauro play well. I was super happy we picked him up after the draft, but also surprised to hear such bad things about him on this site.

  • Steelers12328882

    Couldn’t agree more about Gradkowski. I’m so sick of people tearing apart Landry and acting like Gradkowski can do nothing wrong. Oh, he’s “serviceable”. LOL what does that even mean. He sucks!

  • SteelerMike

    Nice points. It was great to see the first team line get some push. The Lance Moore fade route should not be part of the playbook.

  • joed32

    Neither do I.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I had Dangerfield with the winners as he was on ST’s tackles a few times and always around the ball on defense, I also had Chris Carter who name was actually mentioned in a football game of some sort. Mike Adams was on the bad along with Wing who did snub a punt…cant have that happen once everygame

  • Brandon LL

    Probably because he was more of a 50/50 player. He did have some good plays.

  • HecklerSpray

    Boxscore only shows him with one inside the twenty. Average was 36.5 yards even through a lot of the punts should have allowed him to boom it. Podlesh has to be in play for the position.

  • HecklerSpray

    Gradkowski was bad last night but that throw that he made to Wheaton on the missed field goal drive? I haven’t seen Jones make that pass in his five preseason games yet.

  • Jim McCarley

    Landry Jones made some very good throws and if not for the fumble by Bryant, the Steelers may have won the game…..I was more impressed with Jones, when he wasn’t running for his life, then I was with Gradkowski…..

  • Jim McCarley

    Wing is a short yardage kicker, a specialist. We need a boomer too…can we make room for two punters??

  • Dorkewicz

    The solo tackle that Dangerfield made on the goalline to keep the rb out was a thing of beauty

  • joed32

    Ben’s going to be around for quite a while, fortunately.

  • mlc43

    I’m pretty sure, barring a major injury, that we are a couple of years away from needing Ben’s replacement NOW. I guess I can UNDERSTAND your desire to UPGRADE the no. 2 qb position, but a TRUE replacement for Ben isn’t necessary at THIS time. 😉

  • Birdman

    How is he a loser? he played well and didn’t even give up a sack. He held his own against JPP unlike Beachum

  • nicolaisim

    I’m not with you on that one. He allowed multiple hurries and hits on the QBs. I still hope he can show some of the things he did in college at this level but he and Whimper were not good in pass pro – feet weren’t moving.

  • Birdman

    He didn’t give up a sack, qb pressure, or hit on the qb the entire game…People need to stop just looking at Adams when things go bad and look at the bad guard play that was played last night

  • cencalsteeler

    Excellent points! People need to remember it’s our first preseason game, the Giants second. In hindsight, I’m glad the Steelers are humbled quickly. This shows them there’s a lot of work to do and it’s time to get back to the practice field. If you win, they may take things for granted, and we all know, that’s where things go wrong.

  • cencalsteeler

    Grad is a great scrambling qb and a serviceable pocket passer, at best. Put the two together and you have a back up qb in the NFL.

  • patrick Mayfield

    Door is definitely left open.

  • nicolaisim

    Hey, I’m not on that “hate-train” – been rooting for the guy since day one.
    I actually like him a whole lot and think it was premature to bench him after the Vikings game.
    I’m just saying that i disagree and there’s tape to back it up. I’ll try to cut it up in a bit – not to show you off but just to see if i’m dead wrong :)

  • steeltown

    I agree, they got a lot of tape on guys that are either rookies, new arrivals via FA and roster bubble guys. Practice isn’t going to get easier, they have work to do

  • steeltown

    yea also let him play behind the 1st Team OLine, that would help

  • Guest

    Just watched all of the offensive snaps and I came away with another conclussion than I had when watching ‘live’.
    I was definitely wrong about his overall performance but he had 3 snaps in pass pro where he was below the line.

    He had 3 snaps with very bad technique and he got beat.
    2 of them resulted in qb pressure/hurries – 1 of those resulting in a hit on Landry Jones knees (should have been flagged).

    But I was wrong – other than those mentioned, he had a good showing in pass pro. Some of the snaps were really, really good! He just needs to be more nimble with his transition from kick to post.

  • nicolaisim

    Just watched all of the offensive snaps and I came away with another conclussion than I had when watching ‘live’.
    I was definitely wrong about his overall performance but he had 3 snaps in pass pro where he was below the line.

    He had 3 snaps with very bad technique and he got beat.
    2 of them resulted in qb pressure/hurries – 1 of those resulting in a hit on Landry Jones knees (should have been flagged).

    But I was wrong – other than those mentioned, he had a good showing in pass pro. Some of the snaps were really, really good! He just needs to be more nimble with his transition from kick to post. Still rooting for the guy!

  • cp72

    As much as I give the guy grief I think we are all pulling for him. He needs to be serviceable if Beachum goes down. There is no other option on thr rostet right now. Let’s hope he makes it.

  • keth Naab

    exactly. I’m noticing this is a trend. Everybody was blaming Adams anytime the QB got pressured, but when folks go back and rewatch, he really wasn’t that bad and he definitely held his own

  • keth Naab

    I’m fairly certain Adams didn’t line up at RT a single snap. Seems everybody simply assumes that when a pass pressure occurs, it’s Mike Adams. Not specifically you, Azhe, but this is a trend I’m noticing.

  • AzheDraven

    Yes it’s a trend. I thought that the RT was mike Adams since he has been mostly at RT for Gilbert who also was a bit inconsistent last year. I honestly forgot about whimper, so, that’s reason one, and the other one is that he wasn’t having a great camp.
    But I don’t have anything against him, I
    Hope he can become a good player since I was cheering for him since he got stabbed (that’s when I noticed him) I remember that game against the vikes when he kinda got pissed off at Jared Allen and had some good blocks. The only time I remember him being nasty

  • keth Naab

    that’s definitely a part of his game he needs to develop. Can’t be soft as an offensive lineman, you need a good bit of nastiness to you. Harvey Dahl is an example of a guy who was a very average OL whose nastiness made him substantially better. Adams seems like a mellow, nice guy. I’d prefer he be a nasty, mean sumbeech. :)