Winners and Losers from the Steelers' 24-16 win over the Eagles
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Dwayne Haskins - Haskins finished the night 16 of 22 (72.7%) for 161 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions, along with a quarterback rating of 108.3. It was a nice showing by Haskins, as he led the Steelers on three consecutive touchdown drives and for the most part, looked poised and composed. Haskins averaged just 7.3 yards per pass attempt, so he completed a lot of short passes, but he did have a couple of throws where he showed off his arm strength. It was far from perfect for Haskins, however, as he overthrew a wide-open Isaiah McKoy on one pass and messed up on a handoff as he turned to the wrong side. It should also be noted that Haskins was going up against the Eagles' second-and third-team defense, which is why I would have liked to seen Haskins get reps with the first-team in this game. Mike Tomlin instead decided to go with his same routine with having Mason Rudolph start the game. Tomlin said after the game that he felt like Haskins was in "command" tonight. Haskins connected with Anthony Johnson for a 22-yard touchdown in the third quarter on a free play. It was awful coverage by the Eagles, but Haskins still delivered a nice ball to Johnson for the score.
Anthony McFarland Jr. - McFarland finished the game rushing for 34 yards on nine carries, which included a great second effort on a one-yard score. He also had a reception for seven yards. McFarland's touchdown on the goal-line was one of the plays of the game, and I'm sure the coaching staff was pleased with his efforts. If he keeps it up, he could become the No. 2 running back on the team. However, Kalen Ballage was impressive last week in the Hall of Fame Game. Ballage was out for tonight's game due to an injury, likewise for Benny Snell Jr., which is the second preseason game that Snell's missed and he could find himself not making the roster if he doesn't get healthy soon.
Justin Layne - In two preseason games so far, Layne has forced two turnovers in each game. He had a forced fumble last week and tonight he had an interception. The Steelers capitalized off the turnover and went down the field and scored a touchdown to take a 21-16 lead in the third quarter. There were reports early on in training camp that Layne was struggling, but he's had back-to-back solid performances in the preseason thus far.
Kevin Dotson/Dan Moore Jr. - While it was against second- and third-team players, Kevin Dotson and Dan Moore Jr. just wore out the Eagles defensive line in the second half, especially when it came to the running game. It seemed like the Steelers were getting at least five yards on every carry in the third quarter when they had two touchdown drives. This is the second straight strong outing for Moore, as he was impressive in the Hall of Fame Game, as well.
Jaylen Samuels - Samuels took advantage of the second-team offensive line paving holes for him and finished the night with 45 yards rushing on 10 carries (4.5 average) and a touchdown. He also had an impressive 17-yard reception on third-and-12 that kept a drive alive. Eight players later, Samuels capped off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to give the Steelers a 21-16 lead with 2:59 remaining in the third quarter.
Jordan Berry - Berry pinned the Eagles inside their 10-yard line on his first two punts of the game. The first one was a beauty as he pinned the Eagles at their 2-yard line. In addition, Berry had four total punts with an average of 44.0 and a long of 54. Pressley Harvin III will most likely win the battle for the punter position, but Berry isn't going to go down without a fight.
First-Team Offensive Line - The first-team offensive line was just abysmal tonight. Najee Harris had two runs that went for first down yardage that were brought back because of holding calls, yes one of those holds was called on Freiermuth, but the point still stands that the O-line was subpar. Chuks Okorafor didn't have a good showing, and neither did Kendrick Green, Trai Turner and Joe Haeg, who was filling in for Zach Banner. This sack here on Mason Rudolph just pretty much sums up what the night was like for the first-team offensive line. Haeg and Turner got dominated by Milton Williams and Green had his welcome to the NFL moment by getting bull-rushed by T.Y. McGill into Rudolph for a sack.
Inside Linebackers - The Eagles targeted the Steelers' inside linebackers throughout the first half and had their way. Devin Bush gave up a 34-yard reception to Dallas Goedert on the first series and Robert Spillane continues to struggle in coverage. So, it's no wonder why the Steelers traded with the Jaguars for inside linebacker Joe Schobert in the first quarter of the game. The Steelers know they can't go into the season with Spillane as a starter, as he's just not serviceable in coverage. Schobert will be a big upgrade in that department.
Tre Norwood - The play of the game for the Eagles was by wide receiver Quez Watkins, who caught a screen pass from Joe Flacco and turned it into a 79-yard touchdown. The Eagles set up the screen well with blockers out in front, but free safety Tre Norwood just has to take a better angle, as Watkins just left him in the dust. It could be argued that Cam Sutton got held on the play also, but ultimately the Eagles just executed the play really well and Watkins made Norwood pay for taking a bad angle.
Cam Sutton - Speaking of Watkins, he also burned Sutton on a go route early in the game, but Jalen Hurts overthrew him. If Hurts' pass was on target, it would have been a 98-yard touchdown. Jalen Reagor also went to work on Sutton for a gain of 13 yards on one play, as he displayed a crisp route. It was a short sample size, but the Eagles' wide receivers were getting the best of Sutton. Being a starting outside corner for the first time this year, Sutton will need to play at a higher level than what he displayed on Thursday night.
Josh Dobbs - With the Steelers leading 24-16 in the fourth quarter, Josh Dobbs nearly squandered the lead by throwing an ill-advised pass that resulted in an interception. It was a brutal read by Dobbs, as Eagles' strong safety Elijah Riley read it all the way. Luckily for the Steelers, cornerback Lafayette Pitts picked off Nick Mullens' pass three plays later. Still, with Dobbs just coming into the game after a strong performance by Haskins, it was a big letdown to see him throw an interception, especially since he performed well in the Hall of Fame Game last week.