Steel Curtain Network: A Pittsburgh Steelers podcast

8 Winners and 2 Losers after the Steelers 27-15 win over the Bills

The Pittsburgh Steelers were back on the field Saturday for the 2023 preseason when they played the Buffalo Bills in Week 2 of preseason action. The Steelers were winners in the contest, but that doesn’t mean every player had a good or bad performance.

Players who play well can be considered ‘Winners’, while those who left a lot to be desired can be called ‘Losers’. It may sound harsh, but it is the crux of this exercise.

Let’s check in to see who fell on which side of the ledger after the latest game…


Jaylen Warren
Stat Line: 1 carry, 62 yards, 62.0 ave., 1 TD, 62 long

For those fans who are hoping to see more of Jaylen Warren carrying the football, well, you likely will be getting your wish. Warren touched the ball one time, and went the distance for a 62-yard touchdown. Warren has a home run hitting style which Najee Harris simply doesn’t. A good problem to have for the Steelers.

Calvin Austin III
Stat Line: 1 catch, 12 yards, 12.0 ave., 0 TD, 12 long, 3 targets / 1 punt return, 54 yards

Austin didn’t have the long ball reception like he had in Week 1 of the preseason, but he took his first punt return in the NFL back 54 yards which set up the offense for their second touchdown. He’s a big play just waiting to happen, and that punt return all but solidified his roster spot on the 53-man roster.

Kenny Pickett
Stat Line: 3/4, 43 yards, 10.8 ave.,1 TD, 0 INT, 0 sacks, 149.0 Rating

Again, not a large sample size, but what else could you want? Week 1 Pickett takes the team down the field in his lone drive and scores a touchdown. Week 2, two drives, and two touchdowns. His control of the offense, and ability to convert on 3rd downs is evident. Pickett has the look, feel, and results of an “above the line” quarterback.

Pat Freiermuth
Stat Line: 1 rec., 25 yards, 25.0 ave., 1 TD, 25 yard long, 1 target

Last week it was George Pickens catching the pass over the middle for a touchdown. This week it was Pat Friermuth, this the next play after Austin’s 54-yard punt return. It was a great adjustment by Freiermuth as Pickett threw him open down the seam. Hopefully this is just the beginning for Pat Friermuth.

Joey Porter Jr.
Stat Line: 1 tackle, 1 PD, 1 INT

Mike Tomlin said after the game they were limiting Porter in an effort to ease him back after dealing with a minor injury. Even in a small amount of snaps, Porter made the most of it, snagging his first interception of his professional career.

Nick Herbig
Stat Line: 3 tackles, 3 solo, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 FF, 1 PD, 1 QB Hit

The Herbig hype train rolls on for another week. After a 1.5 sack performance vs. Tampa Bay last week, he put up a strip-sack performance vs. Buffalo. Herbig plays like his hair is on fire, and that’s a pleasant surprise for the Steelers’ pass rush.

Stat Line: 4 takeaways

The Steelers defense got their hands on the football plenty, with three interceptions and a fumble recovery. If this trend continues, this defense could be very special in 2023. But in the preseason while going against back-ups, skepticism is natural.

Special Teams
State Line: All around great game…kicking, coverage and returns

Pressley Harvin had a tremendous night, as did Chris Boswell. The coverage units were stellar with timely tackles and downing punts. Calvin Austin was dynamic as the punt returner. It was a good night for the special teams units all around.


Rush Offense
Stat Line: 33 rushes, 121 yards, 3.7 average

The Warren 62-yard run absolutely bolstered the numbers for the running game, but take that single run away and it’s a different story. The offensive line struggled to get any type of push all night, and will hopefully show more in the preseason finale vs. Atlanta.

Kendrick Green
Stat Line: Holding call, bad snap, missed assignments

I feel like I’m pouring on the young man at this point, but at the same time his performances continue to be notable for the wrong reasons. Tomlin said after the game Green is struggling to make routine plays routinely. Isn’t that the truth. At this stage it almost seems like a stretch to have Green in any 53-man roster prediction. And, no, he isn’t a fullback.

If you want a more detailed look at the above list, check out my “Let’s Ride” podcast in the player below where I outline each Winner and Loser, and MORE!

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