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Steelers Stock Report: Whose stock is rising, and falling, after the 20-12 win over the Giants

August 12th, 2017 at 11:37 AM
Aggregated By Sports Media 101

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t want to make any egregious overstatements or knee-jerk reactions, but after just one preseason game, I am confident that T.J. Watt and Arthur Moats are the greatest pass rushing duo in NFL history.

Watt and Moats, who almost assuredly will assume pretty significant roles this season, inexplicably played four quarters of preseason football in a 20-12 win over the Giants. This dynamic duo, henceforth known solely as the gruesome twosome, combined for five sacks, six quarterback hits, 11 tackles, and two defensed passes, making Friday’s predictable snoozefest somewhat palatable. More importantly, though, Watt and Moats demonstrated that the Steelers have an encouraging amount of linebacker depth behind Bud Dupree and James Harrison.

We’ll begin with a perfunctory breakdown of Watt’s inaugural contest. Watt, who at times during training camp looked totally overmatched by Alejandro Villanueva, routinely bypassed Giants blockers and found his way into the backfield, where he picked up a pair of sacks (the easiest sacks of his career, Mike Tomlin quipped as the Steelers headed into the locker room at halftime), swatted a pass (as is customary for a Watt brother) and broke up several running plays. He needs to add some actual pass rushing moves to his arsenal, but one can presume that this will develop over time. Perhaps Watt’s most laudable contribution occurred on a play in which the Giants gained nine yards. In the second quarter, Josh Johnson, who started at quarterback for the Giants in place of Eli Manning, escaped a collapsing pocket, brushed off two or three Pittsburgh defenders, and began heading upfield. Watt, despite being on the opposite side of the field, pursued Johnson anyway, making a tackle just short of the first-down marker.

I’m not a huge fan of meaningless qualifiers (“hustler,” “locker room guy,” “deceptive speed,” etc.), but Watt demonstrated an appreciable degree of relentlessness on the aforementioned play. His career is definitely off to a good start.

Moats, meanwhile, looked like he was playing against high schoolers and smiled the entire time he did it. The best play of the night occurred when Moats pushed left tackle Chad Wheeler literally into Geno Smith, reached around Wheeler to grab Smith’s jersey, and dragged Smith to the ground despite having 310 pounds of sweaty man meat lodged between him and his target. He is literally impossible not to root for. It’s irresponsible to place too much emphasis on preseason statistics, but a three-sack game (Moats also had an interception) in any …

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Tags: Alejandro Villanueva, Arthur Moats, Bart Houston, Bud Dupree, Cameron Sutton, Canaan Severin, Chad Wheeler, Cobi Hamilton, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Devin Taylor, Dupree, Eli Manning, Fitzgerald Toussaint, Geno Smith, Giants, James Harrison, Javon Hargrave, Jay Cutler, Jerald Hawkins, Johnson, Josh Johnson, Knile Davis, L.J. Fort, Marcus Tucker, Mike Hilton, Senquez Golson, STEELERS, T.J. Watt, William Gay, Xavier Grimble

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