PITTSBURGH -- The preseason ended much the same as it began for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who lost 10-0 to the Carolina Panthers Thursday night at Heinz Field.
The Steelers finished the practice games with a 1-3 record and the only victory coming against the hapless Buffalo Bills, who could conceivably win just a handful of games this season.
"That's the end of August football,'' Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "Not the type of finish we wanted, but nevertheless it's the end. Really, to summarize the evening is quite simple. Not enough cohesion to sustain drives to put points on the board. And when you lack that type of cohesion, you better get splash plays to flip the field and ring the scoreboard up, and we didn't do that, either.''
So, there weren't too many positives, but there were a few players who stood out as the preseason came to an end. Third-string quarterback Landry Jones started the game and played midway into the third quarter. He was average and ineffective at best, despite completing 14 of 18 passes for just 97 yards. His long completion went for just 18 yards to fullback Will Johnson, but it was a yard short of what was needed for the first down.
"I thought he did some good things,'' Tomlin said. "Obviously, not enough. We didn't score. The evaluation of his play doesn't happen in a vacuum. He's one of 11 (players). We'll look at the tape for more detailed analysis.''
Jones also believed he did some positive things, but ultimately did not lead the team into the end zone. And that's the bottom line.
"I needed to get it into the end zone tonight, and that just didn't happen,'' Jones said. "I had some good throws, but I missed some throws. I made progress from last year to this year, but there are still some growing pains right now. That's just a part of it, but I feel like I've come a long way.''
Wideout Darrius Heyward-Bey had six catches for 44 yards to lead all receivers and finished strong during the last couple weeks of the preseason.
"I did some good things,'' Heyward-Bey said. "Some things, I need to get better at. That's what you do. You practice to get better. I just went out there with the mindset of getting better each and every day and doing what the coaching staff asked me to do. I think that's a good way to go about it, because you don't stress out about it.''
Punter Brad Wing averaged just 40.1 yards per punt, but 39.6 net with a long of 52. He had three kicks downed inside the 20-yard line.
"The last two weeks, we've asked him to directional kick a little bit and presented a new challenge to him,'' Tomlin said. "He's had some positive moments and some negative moments, but I like his mentality through it all. And he had more positive moments tonight.''
Defensively, Brett Keisel didn't record a tackle during his only preseason game, but he had a pass breakup and would have had a sack if not for a quick get-off by Carolina quarterback Derek Anderson.
Cornerback Antwon Blake had a rough night in coverage, and while he has been solid on special teams he has not looked good when he's played in the regular defense. Blake got burned on several occasions, including a big 53-yard completion that set up the game's only touchdown.
Tomlin said there were two injuries worth noting. Wideout Martavis Bryant suffered an AC sprain in his right shoulder, but the significance was not known. Also, cornerback Brice McCain had a groin injury. Both will be evaluated in a few days. Cornerback Shaquille Richardson and linebacker Jordan Zumwalt, rookie draft picks injured the majority of training camp, were not close to playing, Tomlin said. This does not bode well for their chances to make the team.
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