Jonathan Dwyer. If Issac Redman is the penciled in as the #1 starter – at least under Rashard Mendenhall is 100% - Dwyer made a case to be #1A. He's looked terrific this preseason and strong a 13 carry, 63-yard performance affirmed the notion that he deserves more carries when it counts. Asked if he thinks he's made a case to his coaches, Dwyer said: 'No matter if it's a game -- or even a practice -- I want them to believe in me."
Chris Rainey. Yeah, so they were called back. But Rainey's punt return "touchdowns" were pure electricity. Haven't seen a player quite like him in a Steelers uniform since ...maybe ever. Will be interesting to see how he does when it counts.
Charlie Batch & Jerrod Johnson. If one of these guys gets cut, they sure didn't make it easy on the coaching staff. Batch was 11 for 14 for 102 yards with a gorgeous37-yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders, who said, "He made an incredible throw. He made it easy for me." Indeed Batch showed the experience that makes him valuable and the skill set of a younger quarterback – which brings us to Johnson.
The undrafted free agent from Texas A&M He was also impressive going 7for 10 for 78 yards, with a nifty touchdown to Weslye Saunders. The Steelers are going to need a younger backup at some point, and with a strong preseason, Johnson has at least made a case to make the team.
Heath Miller. I'd be remiss not to mention that after the game, Miller had on a Pirates t-shirt, showing some Pittsburgh sports solidarity.
Punt return team. As mentioned earlier, Rainey's returns were fantastic – but ultimately negated by holding penalties. And they were by veteran special teamers – Will Allen and Ryan Mundy. Sure, its preseason and it doesn't count – but man alive, could you imagine the apoplectic reaction if not one, but two punt return TDs were discounted during a regular season game?
Alameda Ta'amu. The fourth-round nose tackle from Washington was thought to be a sleeper when the Steelers selected him, a guy that would need to be coached up and slimmed down to become the heir apparent to Casey Hampton. That stuff can come with time, but right now what's troubling is that he has no motor, and minimal strength to compete with NFL caliber lineman.
Preseason football. Sean Spence's injury was as ugly as you'll see in a game, but worst of all, it was completely unnecessary. Ditto for David DeCastro and David Johnson. Football is dangerous enough as it is. If the league truly cared about player safety they would cut these dumb games down to only two and raise ticket prices and ad revenues a few bucks to make up the difference. The NFL is in a unique position to do that because of its incredible popularity, that they could actually cut games and raise costs and it wouldn't matter. And less of these guys would get hurt in the process. Not to mention the game hurt to watch by the end.