Al Thompson
Giants first round pick Evan Engram talks about his first NFL game. Photo by Al Thompson

EAST RUTHERFORD: If fans in Philadelphia and Green Bay thought their preseason opener was awful to watch, the Giants – Steelers tilt was much worse. The Steelers won 20-12.

No Eli Manning, no Odell Beckham, no Brandon Marshall, no Sterling Shepard, no JPP, no Ben Roethlisberger, no Le’Veon Bell, no Antonio Brown. Most starters on defense were out there for the beginning and the offense lines were intact.

With no skill starters out there it should be no surprise that the game started with four consecutive three-and-outs.

The Steelers offense went one-and-out when quarterback Joshua Dobbs appeared to have his throwing hit at the point of the release as the ball sailed shot and right into the hands of a diving Valentino Blake.
Dobbs, who was 8 of 15 for 100 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, said it was great to get the start but he can’t turn the ball over.

“It was fun to get on the field and get some reps,” Dobbs said. “Get back out there in a competitive environment. Of course, there were some throws that you want back and there were some plays made that were good as well. I was able to respond from a little adversity at the beginning of the game, but, it was a good start and we will be able to build off of this as well.”

Devin Taylor came up with interception of No. 2 from Dobbs to set Giants inside the Red Zone. Starting quarterback Josh Johnson ran for eight yards followed by Orleans Darkwa, who went for four yards, then an incomplete pass, then a sack of Johnson followed by another near sack that miraculously ended in another incomplete pass.
Big Blue settled for a Mike Nugent 30-yard field goal and it was 6-0.

The Giants never did score a touchdown. Johnson ended up 5 of 10 for 31 yards. His longest completion was nine yards.

“Just off the top of my head, there are a couple of plays that I wish I could have back,” Johnson said after the game. “Everyone, we all have something to clean up; that’s part of the first preseason game. Besides that, it was just good to get back out there.”

He was asked any positive he could take away from the game

“I was able to respond when something didn’t go our way or when something went wrong,” said Johnson who rushed for eight yards on two carries. “Just being able to respond. We had some opportunities to score some touchdowns. Obviously, we didn’t come up with it. Just being able to respond and communicate, be on the same page with all the guys was big. Being out there with the ones and running some plays.”

Johnson was sacked three times and the Giants gave up seven sacks for the game. Head coach Ben McAdoo said it was not all on the offensive line.

“It was more than just the offensive line, it wasn’t just the offensive line,” the second year coach said. “I’ll have to go back and take a look. There was a mistake on the outside where the quarterback had to eat the ball on one occasion. Then there was one extended play, where we had to throw the ball away. So, we can’t blame the offensive line.”

The Giants rushed for 73 yards as a team on 23 carries. The Steelers ran for 124 yards on 27 carries as a team. Terrell Watson led the way for Pittsburgh with 44 yards on 10 carries. Darkwa led the Giants with 18 yards on three carries.

Giants first round pick Evan Engram caught just one pass for 11 yards, he said it was still great to get his first NFL game under his belt. He talked about the difference playing at the pro level.

“Really, just keep playing fast,” Engram said. “I was really comfortable out there. Just studying really hard and knowing your stuff just makes the game a lot easier. When you’re out there really second guessing yourself and second guessing what you have in your assignments. So really, just making sure I lock in every week and know the material and know the game plan so I can play the game and we can all be successful. Knowing your stuff just makes the game a lot easier, for sure.”

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin liked what he saw from his team regardless if it was a preseason game.

“Good start for us,” he said. “It’s good to get the win regardless of the circumstance. Obviously, there’s a lot to learn from. With this tape, we’ll comb through it with the men. A lot of good contributions. Guys put physical conditioning on display, guys made some plays. Obviously, there are mistakes, and there always will be this time of year. But just some real good positivity to build upon as we move forward. We’ll do that. Not a lot of injuries to speak of. WR JuJu Smith-Schuster went out, he’s been evaluated for a concussion. Other than that, not much to speak of, just some normal bumps and bruises associated with play. It’s important that we get some of these guys back that missed some time tonight. This process is running its course, and in order to give themselves a chance, they have to get back on the field. That point was made to them. Just like where we are in the process, we’ll continue to work. We’ll keep perspective on this one and hopefully be better our next time out.”

Notes: Former Temple stars Tyler Matakevich started at linebacker and had two tackles for Pittsburgh. A bulked up Kyle Friend played the entire second half at center and helped the Steelers finish a nine-play 53-yard drive that resulted in a 15-yard touchdown run by Watson.

Head coach Ben McAdoo


12 Aug 17 - Football, Giants, NFL - Al Thompson - No Comments

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