Steelers show some life, but lose Jones to injury
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jonathan Dwyer (27) celebrates with tackle Marcus Gilbert after scoring a touchdown in the first quarter of an NFL preseason football game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Pittsburgh Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu (43) dives to tackle Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles (25) in the first quarter of an NFL preseason football game on Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
PITTSBURGH – The Steelers finally showed some signs of life in this preseason Saturday night at Heinz Field.
But in doing so, they might have lost another member of their prized rookie class.
Rookie linebacker Jarvis Jones, the team’s top draft pick, suffered a rib/chest injury in the fourth quarter of the Steelers’ 26-20 overtime preseason overtime loss to Kansas City.
Jones was taken to a Pittsburgh hospital following the game for further evaluation on his chest. It is not considered serious, but the team is being cautious.
The injury comes at a time when second-round pick, running back Le’veon Bell, is also out with a mid-foot sprain suffered in the team’s preseason loss last week at Washington.
“I did not see what happened,” said head coach Mike Tomlin of Jones, who was injured after being tackled while returning an interception what was later nullified by a penalty.
“He walked off under his own power.”
The starters played the entire first half and displayed some of the sharpness that had been missing in the first two preseason games.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completed 13 of 19 passes for 166 yards and one touchdown – the first scored by the first-team offense this preseason.
No. 1 wideout Antonio Brown, who had just three catches for 35 yards in the first two preseason games, had three receptions for 61 yards, including a 49-yard bomb from Roethlisberger on Pittsburgh’s first pass play.
The Steelers scored on their first two possessions, going 70 yards on their opening drive – 49 of which came on the bomb to Brown – to get a 23-yard Shaun Suisham field goal.
Their second score, a 13-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger to running back Jonathan Dwyer, came after the Chiefs were stuffed on third and fourth down and less than a yard to go from their own 21.
Defensively, the Steelers played well until the closing moments of the first half, when they were hurt by a pair of penalties for late hits on Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith.
The first came at the end of a scramble by Smith and was questionable.
As Smith stepped out of bounds at the conclusion of a 38-yard run. cornerback Cortez Allen was penalized for running into him out of bounds. Replays showed that Allen, who was making his first appearance of the preseason after having a minor knee surgery three weeks ago, was blocked into Smith by tight end Anthony Fasano.
That helped set up a 19-yard Ryan Succop field goal that cut Pittsburgh’s lead to 10-3 with 3:01 remaining in the first half.
The Steelers then stalled at their own 41 following the first carry of the game for Felix Jones, acquired Friday in a trade from Philadelphia. Jones, a five-year veteran, inexplicably ran out of bounds on third-and-13 after a 7-yard run, stopping the clock for Kansas City, which had just one timeout remaining.
Following a short 31-yard punt by Brian Moorman, the Chiefs got the ball back at their own 28 with 1:18 remaining in the half.
And as Smith tossed a 12-yard pass to Dwayne safety on a rollout to his right, he was hammered by safety Troy Polamalu, who was penalized 15 yards for a hit to the quarterback’s head.
That moved the ball to the Pittsburgh 20 and set up a 5-yard TD pass from Smith to Junior Hemingway with 21 seconds remaining in the first half that tied the game at 10-10.
“In my opinion, some of those calls were suspect,” said Tomlin. “If we remain penalty-free defensively, we’re a tough team to drive the ball on.”
Backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski threw a 34-yard TD pass to rookie Markus Wheaton late in the third quarter, but Jamar Newsome returned the ensuing kickoff 109 yards for a touchdown to tie the game at 17.
The Steelers regained the lead early in the fourth quarter on a 27-yard Suisham field goal, but Kansas City again tied it with a late field goal.
Second-string quarterback Chase Daniel then threw a 15-yard touchdown pss to Rico Richardson on the opening possession of overtime to end the game.
Odds and end zones
Cornerback Curtis Brown left the game in the second quarter and was assessed for a concussion. He later returned. ... Jones again shared time at right outside linebacker Jason Worilds with the starting unit. ... Felix Jones had 29 yards on eight carries.