Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger only played one series in Pittsburgh's 24-23 loss against the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on Thursday night, but that series lasted a long, long time.
The offense held the ball for 9:48 on its opening possession, making short but steady progress toward a 46-yard field goal by Shaun Suisham that gave the Steelers an early 3-0 lead. Roethlisberger completed seven of his eight passes on the drive for 49 yards but a relatively small 6.1 yards per completion average, reflective of a ball possession-focused approach by new offensive coordinator Todd Haley.
Pittsburgh's next drive, with backup Byron Leftwich at the helm, saw the offense go 83 yards in 11 plays while taking another big chunk, 6:32, off the play clock. It culminated with a 2-yard pass to wideout Emanuel Sanders. After the game, Sanders was pleased with the offense's effort in its preseason debut, but hinted there's more to come as well, writes Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
"We definitely didn't bring all of our cards out. We just came in with a small portion of our playbook and tried to execute that," wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders said of Haleyball. "I feel like we did a pretty good job, but as the preseason goes along we'll get better and show more of the playbook. I really like it."