Steelers’ Thursday Showing May Demand Extended Encore From Starters

Needless to say for anybody who actually watched the game, the 10-point deficit that the final scoreboard read certainly does not do justice to how soundly the Philadelphia Eagles handled the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night.

The most telling fact is that the Eagles were so satisfied with their own players’ performances that they were readily rotating one line of the depth chart for the next. By the time the game was over, Nick Foles, Mark Sanchez, and Matt Barkley had all given way to G.J. Kinne at the quarterback position, for comparison.

Meanwhile, head coach Mike Tomlin was so disappointed in his starters’ performance in the first half of the game that, as halftime ended, when asked if he will continue to play his starters, he simply responded by saying “absolutely”, with his expression and demeanor helping to fill in any leftover blanks.

Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ first-team personnel remained out there for the first two drives of the second half until they finally scored, off a scramble drill touchdown to Heath Miller in the far right corner of the end zone.

Meanwhile, the first-team defense continued to struggle, allowing Sanchez to lead touchdown drives on the Eagles’ first two possessions of the half. The backups didn’t play until there were already two minutes gone in the fourth quarter.

I joked during the game, probably right around the time that Matthew Tucker punched in his second one-yard touchdown run with 30 seconds remaining in the third quarter, that at this rate, the starters would have to play all of the final preseason game.

That was a joke, but you’d have to imagine that Tomlin’s original plans for the final preseason game may have been altered by his team’s most recent performance.

If it were up to Cameron Heyward, he may play the entire game himself, if his response to the team’s performance is anything to go by.

Of course, players with injuries, such as Jason Worilds—one of the few bright spots in his pass rushing from that game—may sit out.

But overall, I would expect to see the first-team units play more into the game than they normally would. They might, for example, be asked to play a full quarter or so of the game, depending on the length of the drives.

It’s important to remember just how much change the team has undergone over the past year. There are many kinks in the system still being massaged out, and as we saw on Thursday, they are not insignificant fixes to make.

The league has been trying to argue that the preseason is too long. That may be the case for some teams, particularly those surrounded by veterans. But at least for this Steelers team, it’s clearly not long enough.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • dgh57

    The only thing the Steelers’ Thursday Night performance demands, at least from me at this time, is my Pessimism! Enough negatives about that game have already been posted so I’ll just leave it at that!

  • Jacque Strappe

    Snoop Dogg loves him some Todd Haley. I laugh every time I hear the instagram.

  • GoSteelerz

    No, no, no… We need to get a good long look at our backups who have had very few reps. If our depth is not properly evaluated and prepared, one injury or one starter not performing up to par and we are screwed… The starters have been through the preseason before, they can adjust and be ready, many of our backups, especially rookie backups have not. This lack of opportunity for our new/young guys is getting old, and I think it’s part of the reason why we have been struggling for a while, and may continue to do so…

  • cencalsteeler

    Could Le’Backfields choice of smoking out cost the likes of Josh Harris and Stephon Houston a spot with the Steelers? Tomlin, obviously played them more for their punishment.

  • walter mason

    Tomlin played them and maybe subconciously the lineman didnt block as well as they could have. I would feel better if we lost with back up RBs and they sat out for punishment.. Tomlin accomplished nothing by playing them unless Im correct about the blocking. I just hope they can turn it around.

  • greeny

    Absolutely silly to do so. Someone important will get hurt. Our problems are mostly DEF scheme. It is dated and doesn’t work any more especially with the new rules and we all know Lebeau for some reason will refuse to have our corners jam receivers at the line of scrimmage.

  • Matthew Suloman

    GIve the poor players, who may never get a chance to play some time..

  • Matthew Suloman

    once again Colbert blew another draft by not taking Eddie Lacy… and don’t give me that injury B.S.

  • Matthew Suloman

    exactly… its ignorant not to let them play. im losing respect for the organization

  • Matthew Suloman

    I think your spot on.

  • Matthew Suloman

    once again, spot on..

  • walter mason

    I am also losing respect for the organization and I am in shock of all the fans that think this is acceptable behavior like somehow the players can perform better stoned as if getting high on pot was some kind of medicine. However I think we havent heard the last of this from Tomilin as he was clearly not happy. I think we can and will play better but only after an apology from the players in question.

  • Dave Bradley

    I think your shock is shared by many of our fellow fans. I believe the steelers have excellent talent, but lack heart and discipline, which leads to lackadaisical attitudes and performance. I hope I am wrong but that is what I have seen so far this year.

  • walter mason

    I think you are right

  • Leon Mcnair

    Give me a reason why u think Lacey is better than bell, bell is better than Lacey just remember bell missed 4 games and still rushed for over 800 yds and 8 tds behind a terrible o-line so I don’t see your point I’m more disappointed on them not going CB they Te terrible

  • joed32

    Packers used 3 RBs last year and the other two had more YPC than Lacy. Give the credit to the OL.

  • Matthew Suloman


  • Matthew Suloman

    Ta’amu…Adams..Bell… oh my…

  • Matthew Suloman

    oh and… smoking Blount