Pittsburgh defeated visiting Tennessee 16-6 on Saturday at Heinz Field, and Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger showed he is ready for the season to start.
Saturday’s game was the only one he was scheduled to play this preseason, and he didn’t let it go to waste. In three drives, he tallied 114 yards of 11-of-18 passing, including a 32-yard touchdown pass to Justin Hunter late in the first period.
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota, on the other hand, could not get anything going against Pittsburgh’s stingy defense. He played most of the first half but mustered 43 yards, completing 5 of 8 attempts. He was intercepted by rookie safety Terrell Edmunds on a pass headed toward Taywan Taylor, and he could not connect with Corey Davis on the opening drive for what would have been a touchdown.
Mariota did not get much help from the featured running backs, either. Dion Lewis gained 11 yards on three carries, and Derrick Henry rushed five times for 12 yards.
Backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert’s 3-yard pass to tight end Anthony Firkser in the fourth quarter accounted for the Titans’ only score. Gabbert was 16-of-24 passing for 158 yards and a touchdown.
The Steelers are waiting for All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell to sign his franchise tender and report to the team, but his backups held their own against the Tennessee defense. Rookie fifth-round draft pick Jaylen Samuels carried the ball 11 times for 41 yards, but he caught four passes for 36. Second-year back James Conner managed 18 yards on 10 carries, but he added 52 yards on six receptions.
On the injury front, Pittsburgh rookie wide receiver James Washington, the team’s second-round selection in the draft, left the game with an abdominal injury. Tennessee rookie linebacker Harold Landry, another second-round pick, left with an ankle injury and did not return.
After the game, Washington told reporters the injury was a minor one and he was removed as a “precautionary measure.” There was no immediate update on Landry.
—Field Level Media