The Hall of Fame Game kicked off the NFL preseason on Thursday with the Pittsburgh Steelers defeating the Dallas Cowboys by a score of 16-3.
This was the first NFL preseason game in two years; rustiness on both teams was evident.
Here are three takeaways for the Steelers from the Hall of Fame Game.
3. Backup Quarterback Play Was Okay
Collectively, they completed 18 passes for 174 yards; Dobbs threw the only touchdown pass of the game.
As with most NFL teams in 2021, the Steelers will ride or die with their starter Ben Roethlisberger who at his low points last year looked better than his backups.
Roethlisberger, on the sidelines for the game, told Erin Andrews during an interview:
“I feel really good right now.”
He hinted that he was definitely not perfect last season.
Ben Roethlisberger tries to slyly slip in how he was battling through last year. Always makes sure you know just how tough he is.
— Pete Smith (@_PeteSmith_) August 6, 2021
2. Missed Field Goal And Extra Point Are Not Good
While the preseason games are intended to get the kinks out and allow coaches to evaluate players for upcoming roster decisions, it is baffling that missed kicks are a headline.
Sam Sloman missed a field goal and an extra point.
To be fair, the field goal attempt was 49 yards so it was not a gimme.
However, the extra point seems hard to believe.
1. Rookies Shine
— Luke Johnson (@Scoop_Johnson) August 6, 2021
While everyone was eager to see first-round draft pick Najee Harris, the running back out of Alabama, he was not the rookie who stole the show.
Harris carried the ball seven times for 22 yards.
His long run was a six-yard dash; Harris also caught a pass out of the backfield for three yards.
He looked good, but his fellow rookie, punter Pressley Harvin III, the Steeler’s seventh-round draft pick out of Georgia Tech, stole the show.
As a disclaimer, it is definitely early in the preseason when the punter is the headline story.
He punted four times for 183 yards.
Harvin averaged almost 46 yards per punt, and three of his punts trapped the Cowboys within their own 20-yard line.
In fact, his second punt was downed inside the Cowboys one-yard line.
Sigh Of Relief
Steelers fans were excited to see wide receiver Chase Claypool early in the game.
He was shaken up during the game and was seen entering the tent.
Coach Mike Tomlin said he will be fine, but it is a reminder of the perils of preseason.
No one wants to see a team’s star player lost to injury in a game that has no significance.
One of the coolest moments was seeing Hall of Fame inductee and former Steelers coach Bill Cowher on the team’s sidelines.
He was spotted standing near Roethlisberger and Tomlin at different times.
Bill Cowher talks with Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin in the second quarter of the Hall of Fame Game Thursday in Canton. pic.twitter.com/WnqEh2myMt
— Matt Freed (@mattfreedpghpg) August 6, 2021
Interviewed by the FOX broadcasting team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, Cowher talked about leaving a bottle of Iron City beer in the refrigerator in his office as he left.
This was his parting gift for Tomlin; Cowher since learned that Tomlin never drank the beer.
It remains in the refrigerator, and Tomlin plans to pass it to his successor.
Tomlin said he hasn't drank the Iron City beer Bill Cowher left for him in his office when he took over. Said he will leave that same beer for the next head coach — whenever that may be.
— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) August 3, 2021
The Hall of Fame Game is more about the off-the-field stories than it is the action on the field, and these are the neat anecdotes fans hear as it is being played.