PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers young offensive line got job No. 1 done in the first game of the season at Buffalo on Sunday — Ben Roethlisberger made it through 60 minutes relatively unscathed.
The Bills were able to sacks the Steelers’ veteran twice, but the Steelers’ front five, featuring four new starters and two rookies, was able to keep the Buffalo line from teeing off on Roethlisberger.
After that, the evaluation becomes more critical, as the Steelers struggled to run the ball all game and couldn’t do much of anything on offense in the first half. Roethlisberger had the quickest time to throw of any quarterback in the NFL in Week 1 at 2.3 seconds, continuing his trend from 2020 of getting rid of the ball extremely quickly.
Head coach Mike Tomlin said on Tuesday that he is pleased with the line’s presence in several areas, if not necessarily the overall package.
“I love the spirit in which they worked,” he said. “I love the demeanor in which they worked. I love the physicality in which they worked. The quality of our work has to get better.”
But as the Steelers go forward with more difficult assignments that the Bills’ front seven — especially one without defensive tackle Star Lotulelei.
“We’ve got to develop individual and collective know-how and cohesion,” Tomlin said. “But the will things, the intangible things that are very required in order to progress, I saw. So that was encouraging.”
Another encouraging sign of progress was the lack of false start and holding penalties for the young line, including Kendrick Green and Dan Moore Jr. making their first NFL starts in front of a roaring crowd in Buffalo.
“Just to get in that environment and not have a bunch of pre-snap penalties and things of that nature, I just thought was a win,” Tomlin said. “I was prepared to deal with first-and-15 or losing five yards on a third-and-three and going to a third-and-eight because they’ve got their ears bent back and we’re working on a silent count. Can’t say enough about the work that those young guys did. By no means have they arrived. We’ve got so much work ahead of us, but it was enough to get us out of that stadium with the win, and I’m appreciative.”