Watt Shines, Dobbs Improves As Steelers Knock Off Giants

T.J. Watt’s NFL start was as good as Josh Dobbs’ was bad. By game’s end, both had evened out in a Pittsburgh Steelers’ 20-12 win over the New York Giants Friday night.

For Watt, he notched sacks on his first two pass rushes. They weren’t the most dominant plays of all-time but in the end, sacks are sacks. For Dobbs, it couldn’t have gone much worse. At one point, he was 1/4 for four yards and two interceptions. The first, an underthrown deep ball picked off by former Steeler Antwon Valentino Blake. The next, a short throw over the middle where linebacker Devin Taylor stepped in front.

Life got better from there. Dobbs hooked up with Cobi Hamilton for two big gains, including a 28 yard touchdown pass down the right side. The rookie quarterback would finish the day 8/15 for 100 yards, a touchdown, and two picks.

Pittsburgh’s defense, parts of which played into the second quarter, held firm in the end zone. Twice, the Giants marched into red zone. And twice, they settled for a field goal. When they punted, it was usually because of Watt, whose sacks resulted in losses of three and eight yards.

Watt is the first Steeler to record two sacks in a preseason game since Josh Mauro in 2014.

The Steelers first touchdown came way of a special teams gaffe by the Giants. Mike Hilton recovered a Donte Deayon fumble, allowing Dobbs to connect with Hamilton off playaction on the very next play. It gave the Steelers a 10-9 lead heading into halftime.

Fitzgerald Toussaint got the starting nod at running back, carrying the ball six times for 19 yards.

A Giants’ field goal from Mike Nugent quickly reclaimed the lead on their first drive in the second half. After another punt by the Steelers, Giants’ QB Geno Smith looked like a rookie. He promptly tossed a pick to a dropping Arthur Moats, who returned it inside the red zone. Briefly, the Steelers seemed to have scored after Dobbs rolled to his left and threw to the middle for Xavier Grimble in the end zone. But Brian Mihalik was called for holding and the Steelers were forced to settle for a Chris Boswell 37 yard field goal.

Dobbs’ day was spotty, missing too many easy throws and not going through his progressions, he improved as the game went on. His accuracy on the move was evident and at halftime, Mike Tomlin praised the “look in his eye” from Dobbs, implying the moment hadn’t been too big for him.

The rest of the game was much like the rest of opening day preseason football. Uneventful. The Steelers extended their lead early in the 4th quarter on a Terrell Watson 15 yard touchdown, aided by Jake McGee and Matt Feiler’s strong blocks. With that, the Steelers took a 20-12 lead.

Arthur Moats, a veteran, dominated the Giants’ backups. By game’s end, he racked up three sacks to go along with six total tackles and his aforementioned interception. It’s an environment where Moats is supposed to look good but with Keion Adams missing due to a shoulder injury, it certainly doesn’t hurt.

Cornerback Brian Allen had a key breakup late in the fourth quarter to preserve the team’s lead.

The Steelers will play host to the Atlanta Falcons on August 20th at 4 PM.

NOTES: 2nd round pick JuJu Smith-Schuster left in the first quarter with a concussion…he was injured attempting to make a tackle on a Dobbs’ interception…the Steelers recorded six sacks…in addition to being thin at OLB, the Steelers had just 5 active WRs following Smith-Schuster’s injury…Tomlin told Missi Matthews at halftime the Steelers would quickly get Martavis Bryant back on the field…L.J. Fort and Hilton led the team with seven total tackles…Boswell made both of his field goals, including connecting from 48 yards out….over a dozen Steelers did not dress, including Ben Roethlisberger, Maurkice Pouncey, Sean Davis, Bud Dupree, and Justin Hunter.

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • Anthony Barnes

    Mike Hilton is the greatest player to ever step foot on the football field

  • Reader783

    Posted an hour before the game ended? Time travel?

    Watt and Hilton looked great, pretty exciting for OLB


    That’s future HOF’er TJ Watt

  • barry foster

    Is it safe to say moats makes the 53 man roster

  • T R

    Watt and Dupree might be pretty damn exciting.. 🙂

  • Chris92021

    No TDs allowed by the starters and the backups? Yes please!

    Dobbs had a few rookie moments (especially the 2nd INT. He never saw that at Tennessee) but man, his arm, athleticism, and moxie makes me feel confident. I hope he plays with the starters on the 20th against the Falcons.

    Watt is going to be a star in this league like his brother. Mike Hilton, if he keeps this up, no way he clears waivers to go on the practice squad. I don’t care if it is preseason. A win is a win! Enjoy the weekend, y’all!!

  • Anthony Barnes

    Mike Hilton

  • Michael Mosgrove

    Mossy’s Recap:
    Moats balled out 3 sacks, interception handful of pressures
    Watt showed promise 2 sacks almost a 3rd. couple pressures
    Danger zone was decent need to watch the hands
    Hilton balled out. sack bunch of tackles almost got a second sack.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    hilton not going to be cut.
    burns, gay, cockrell, sutton, hilton, sensabaugh.

  • Alex Kozora

    We’re just that freakin’ good.

  • Chris92021

    Yeah, I am burying Golson too hahaha

  • Rob H

    After the first preseason game? No.

  • DarthYinzer

    Like with any preseason game, not going to get too hyped or too down. Lots of little things to praise and lots to correct. Hope JuJu is ok, and we keep them injuries realllly low.

  • WreckIess

    Good start for the young guys. Now it’s time to rest, recover, and watch film. Take that next step next week.

  • DoctorNoah

    Dobbs’ INT’s were bad. JPP could have made that second INT the two fingers he has left. Bart Houston would have had a better stat line if Severin hadn’t dropped every pass thrown right into his hands. Where’s David Moye these days?

  • Shane Mitchell

    Sounds like Tomlin really likes Jake McGee, not surprised if he can block, we need it.

  • Alex Kozora

    Agreed. PS over Odom, you think?

  • Alex Kozora

    Good perspective, Wreckless.

  • steelburg

    Watt, Hilton, and Moats stood out the most. Hilton looked good around the line of scrimmage I still don’t know if he can cover yet the QB play on both sides was pretty bad. Dobbs did look better as the game went on. I would call Toussaint, and Davis battle a tie based off tonight. Fort and dirty red was also quitly good IMO.

  • Shane Mitchell

    Yeah, maybe even active roster.

  • Michael Mosgrove


  • Michael Mosgrove

    doubt that one. david johnson is solid. grimble is making plays. james isnt making plays but he isnt going anywhere.

  • WreckIess

    Thanks Alex. I appreciate all the work you put in big dawg.

  • Mark P

    Wow, that player “NAME” must be really good.

  • Shane Mitchell

    It will be something to watch next few weeks, it would be nice to have a TE that can block. James blocking didnt look too good tonight, dont think he is going anywhere but seems we are too one dimensional with all 3 guys.

  • Shane Mitchell

    How bout that Arthur Moats, dont know what you people that want to keep a 7th round draft pick over Moats on the active roster are smoking, he is an invaluable backup at OLB, Special teams???? Huh????? Adams would have to be the best special teams player on the team to be anywhere close to as valuable as Moats on the active roster.

  • Alan Siegel

    I’m not sure what game you were watching, but the game I watched…I thought Dobbs had zero feel for the game. a TD pass? great he missed throws all over the field all night. he might be a bright kid, but he does not have the look of being the new face of the steelers!

  • Robert E Lil

    I’ll say this about Dobbs. I was pleasantly surprised by his throwing motion. It’s actually legit – better than what I expected from watching his college tape. If he can learn and do so under the cover of what’s in front of him I think he’s definitely valuable. I’m very encouraged

  • Robert E Lil

    Ju Ju. He’s not gonna disappoint.

  • Wayne’O

    Adams can’t make the club, in the tub.

  • Walt Dongo

    yeah hes not the heir apparent

  • Alex Kozora

    Think that’s a severe stretch. Already got DJ.

  • Walt Dongo

    Didnt you hear? Alex upgraded the McLumina with a flux capacitor with all that Blogger ca$h he is gettin now.

  • Shane Mitchell

    At this point I agree, but I expect a surprise player to make the active roster somewhere, and its not like any of our TEs are all that great or well rounded. Has he shown anything in camp as a pass catcher?

  • Michael Conrad

    Dobbs needs a lot of work on his mechanics but you know what . I think he put up more points then what Landry Jones did all preseason last year. He needs to set his feet.

    When he throws off balance he is bad. He will never be a starter but maybe a backup. I don’t think he will stop them from drafting a QB next year if they want to.

  • Alex Kozora

    McGee? Decent pair of hands. Can’t separate to save his life though.

  • Alex Kozora

    lol, he’s been the talk of camp

  • Shane Mitchell

    Its a conundrum then, I can see him having value as a blocker on the active roster but not so much on the practice squad, because if he cant separate probably not going to develop him into a complete TE.

  • Gautama Om

    Moats is great in training camp and pre-season but that is it…just camp and pre-season vs mostly scrubs…NOT regular season. We know who the real Moats is from years and years of work in the regular season and that is nothing special but a very average backup OLB.

  • RickM

    Absolutely. It happens every year. You get a veteran back-up against 2nd and 3rd stringers, many of whom have not been in the league, and he takes advantage. Toss the stats. That said, Adams is going to have to get back on the field and show some production to have any chance to beat him out.

  • Denny

    The average Moats is right in line with our average starters. In last two years Moats has 7.5 sacks compared to 8.5 for Bud and 10 for Deebo. He is obviously not going to be the starter but if we can make a SB run this year, I would feel better having him as a backup than a rookie. Once the season starts, there aren’t many practice snaps for the backups so that is why I think the coaches prefer veteran backups. If we weren’t thinking Super Bowl this season, the I would prefer the rookie as means to build for the future.

  • Real

    hahahhaha my dude crossed out antwon

  • Shane Mitchell

    You expect backups to be special players?