Leftwich sees extra time
Only two quarterbacks played in the Steelers' 12-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday, but coach Mike Tomlin said that wasn't by design. Tomlin had planned to use rookie Dennis Dixon in the second half. Circumstances, he said, dictated that the Steelers stick with Byron Leftwich in the third and fourth quarters.
"We thought the situations were invaluable that we were getting him in," Tomlin said.
Leftwich, who is backing up Ben Roethlisberger, signed with the Steelers a couple of days after Charlie Batch broke his collarbone Aug. 8. While experienced -- Leftwich has started in the NFL -- the former Jaguar is still playing catch-up when it comes to learning the Steelers' offense. He completed 16-of-23 passes for 129 yards against the Vikings and directed a late drive that led to Jeff Reed's game-winning field goal.
"I thought he delivered the ball to some guys in critical situations," Tomlin said. "Nothing we hadn't seen him do before, but something we hadn't seen him do in a Steeler uniform, so it was good."
- Troy Polamalu knew beforehand that he wasn't going to play against the Vikings. That didn't stop the strong safety from suiting up and taking part in the Steelers' pre-game warm-ups.
- Third-year wide receiver Willie Reid, who's battling for a roster spot, had a team-high five catches for 55 yards against the Vikings. Included in his grabs was a diving one in the fourth quarter that gave the Steelers a critical first down. When asked if he thought Reid played well against the Vikings, Tomlin said, "He did -- made some plays, and really a lot of guys did."
- After Saturday's game, Tomlin talked about returning to Minnesota. He served as the Vikings' defensive coordinator for one season before becoming the Steelers' head coach. "What we went through together, we're lifelong friends," Tomlin said of the Vikings. "Some things transcend the business, and that's what happens when you commit yourself to something. I've got a lot of love for a lot of guys over there."
- Tomlin lauded the play of punter Paul Ernster against the Vikings. Ernster punted four times for a net average of 48.8 yards. Mitch Berger, who's competing with Ernster for the starting punter job, didn't kick Saturday.
- Lawrence Timmons leads the Steelers with 14 tackles through three preseason games. The second-year linebacker also has a sack.
23:37 Vikings' time of possession in Saturday's game
36:23 Steelers' time of possession in Saturday's game
"It felt good to put on a uniform and just get out there and take baby steps," said Polamalu, who missed training camp because of a hamstring problem.
Polamalu's last chance to shake off any rust before the start of the regular season comes Thursday. The Steelers play host to the Carolina Panthers in their final preseason game. Whether Polamalu plays in the 7 p.m. game remains to be seen. As for the rest of the first-team defense, outside linebacker James Harrison said the unit doesn't need much work to get ready for the regular season.
"If we only get a series or two in the fourth game, that's fine," Harrison said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers veteran defenders want young teammates to step up
- Steelers’ Brown combats disruptive defensive ploys
- Steelers notebook: Defense sags in NFL rankings because of struggles against the run
- Steelers not receiving big returns on their offseason investments
- Steelers film session: Missed tackles prove costly
- Steelers’ defense out of sync
- Robinson: There’s no telling when play of aging QBs will fall off
- Rossi: Are NFL fans ready for some priorities?
- NFL looking for boost with Thursday night games, starting with Steelers-Ravens
- Mistakes multiply for Steelers in rout by Ravens
- Heyward confident youthful Steelers defense will improve