In a shut out, the Steelers topped the Bills 17-0 in the third pre-season game. Â The dress rehearsal showed why the Steelers defense has been ranked number one the last two seasons when James Farrior intercepted a pass and returned 22-yards for a defensive touchdown. Â The first points on the board.
Amazingly enough, the offensive line even gave Ben time to throw from the pocket. Â Ben threw 15 of 19 for 168 yards with no hint of that ankle injury he received at the end of training camp.
Rashard Mendenhall was also able to move the ball. Â He rushed 16 times for 48 yards-perhaps giving life to the Steelers lagging running game. Â While he lost only one fumble, it was a critical time, and he seems to carry the ball loosely – something I am sure Coach Tomlin will address. Health Miller, Hines Ward and Limas Sweed all had great catches during the game. Â The Steelers owned time of possession at 21.46 in the first half alone.
Both Willie Parker and Santonio Holmes sat out last night with injuries but should be ready to go come September 10.
Stefan Logan worked to secure his spot as a punt returner and showed his worth with returns for 17, 13 and 27 yards and calling a couple fair catches in between. Â Coach Tomlin says he will see more time in Carolina and hopefully will earn that spot for good.
Mike Wallace showed his speed throughout the game and returned the only kick-off for 24 yards. Â In reference to wide receivers, Coach Tomlin said, Â ”We are looking for some other guys to join Sweed and Mendenhall in terms of providing some of the contributions they are providing.” Â He added, “We have put a lot of pressure on those second-year guys. They have to make a big step for us and make plays for us. Limas is one that is doing that. Some others have to join him.” Â Wallace is one of those guys, along with Brandon Williams who also had some good playing time last night.
Joe Burnett, fighting for a roster spot after a not so good showing last week, garnered some positive attention when he blocked a 33-yard field goal attempt with just over 2 minutes left.
Next week, the Steelers play the Carolina Panthers, and then the Â season opening game, Thursday September 10, against the Tennessee Titans.