Friday, September 2, 2011
Steelers, Ravens Week 4 preseason recap
By James Walker
The reigning AFC champion Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens concluded their 2011 preseason Thursday night.
Here are some observations:
Steelers 33, Panthers 17
- The Steelers played their final preseason game without any significant injuries. That was the most important thing for Pittsburgh in this game. The Steelers rested most of their starters and even got receiver Emmanuel Sanders (four receptions, 60 yards) some reps before the regular season. Sanders had been out with a foot injury.
- Backup running back Jonathan Dwyer completed a nice turnaround this summer. He began training camp out of shape and finished as one of Pittsburgh's biggest preseason surprises. Dwyer rushed for 88 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. He has shown a good burst and tough running between the tackles. The Steelers are very deep at running back.
Ravens 21, Falcons 7
- The Steelers were playing with backups, but the third-down efficiency could have been better. Pittsburgh scored a lot of points but was 4-of-13 on third down. Ben Roethlisberger should improve those numbers in the regular season. But the Steelers would've liked to see more production in that area from backup quarterbacks Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch.
- First-round pick Jimmy Smith had his strongest game of the preseason. He recorded five tackles and one pass defense. Smith has made a few rookie mistakes in the preseason but bounced back strong Thursday night. The Ravens are expecting Smith to be the team's No. 1 corner this season.
- Fellow rookie cornerback Chykie Brown made his case for the 53-man roster. Brown recorded three tackles and a 65-yard interception return for a touchdown. Brown is on the bubble but certainly helped his standing. Baltimore is already deep at corner but probably wants to keep its fifth-round draft pick.
- Ravens rookie quarterback Tyrod Taylor threw an interception in limited playing time. He only played two series and those drives didn't produce any points. He finished 2-of-3 for 16 yards and a pick. I would have liked to see the rookie sixth-round pick play longer. But perhaps this was a sign the Ravens will choose Taylor as the No. 2 quarterback and want to keep him healthy.