The Steelers travel to Bank of America Stadium Thursday night to take on Carolina in their final preseason game of 2013. There is great concern that this will be a down year for the Black and Gold, and if the preseason is any indication, that concern may be more than valid.
Pittsburgh is now 0-3 in August after a 26-20 loss to the Chiefs at Heinz Field, Saturday night.
The third game is now considered the dress rehearsal for NFL teams, as the regulars usually play the entire first half.
In terms of the passing game, Steelers franchise quarterback Ben Roethlsiberger was extremely productive, going 13/19 for 166 yards and a 13 yard touchdown pass to running back Jonathan Dwyer.
As for the first team defense, after being given a 10-0 first quarter lead, Dick Lebeau’s unit gave up 10 second quarter points, including the game-tying touchdown with just 18 seconds left in the first half.
In the second half, backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski continued to look impressive as he passed for 115 yards–including a 34 yard touchdown strike to rookie receiver Markus Wheaton to give the Steelers a 17-10 lead in the third quarter.
Unfortunately, the special teams continued to struggle in the preseason, as Knile Davis returned the ensuing kickoff 109 yards for the game-tying touchdown.
The Chiefs eventually tied the game on a Ryan Succup field goal with 1:32 remaining in the fourth quarter, and won it in on a Rico Richardson 15 yard touchdown pass from Chase Daniels on the first offensive possession of overtime.
This Thursday, playing with mostly backups and guys just looking to make the roster, Pittsburgh will try to avoid its first winless preseason since 2006.
Notes: Rookie linebacker Jarvis Jones, Pittsburgh’s first round draft pick, was taken to a local hospital after injuring his chest while being tackled following a fourth quarter interception. He is believed to be fine……Second round pick, running back Le’Veon Bell, missed the game due to a mid-foot sprain, and he’s likely to miss the start of the regular season.