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Winners and Losers From Steelers vs. Seahawks

With so many Pittsburgh Steelers starters sidelined, reserves made their case for a roster spot as the first round of cuts approaches.

PITTSBURGH  -- The Pittsburgh Steelers saw their first live game action when they hosted the Seattle Seahawks for the 2022 preseason opener at Acrisure Stadium. 

With so many Steelers starters sidelined, the reserves were able to make their case for a roster spot as the first round of training camp cuts looms on Tuesday at 4 p.m. 

Here's who stood out - for good reasons and bad - during their last-second victory over the Seahawks. 

Winners

Kenny Pickett - Usually the second half of a preseason game yields little worth watching but that was not the case on in the opener. The loudest ovations came when Pickett took the field for the first time and the cheers only grew louder when he completed all five passes on his first drive, which ended in a touchdown pass to Conner Heyward.

Pickett finished the evening 13-15 for 95 yards and two touchdowns, the second of which came with three seconds left in a tie ball game. His execution in the two-minute drill led the Steelers to victory.

Gunner Olszewski - Olszewski is on a rebranding mission. He was an All-Pro returner for the New England Patriots but little else. He wants to be a true receiver and was a good one on Saturday with most of the Steelers' presumed starters in street clothes. Olszewski was on the receiving end of this season's first score in the first quarter and that was after helping set up the touchdown with a 25-yard catch and run the play before. Mitch Trubisky said he's "shifty", always open and "quarterback-friendly" after the game.

Jaylen Warren - Warren has been the darling of training camp so far. The undrafted rookie from Oklahoma State ran with power and agility to the tune of 5.7 yards per carry and flashed versatility in the passing game with four catches for 30 yards and a touchdown.

He's justified the bandwagon that has rapidly picked up steam over the past couple of weeks. Head coach Mike Tomlin was not happy with his third quarter fumble, but did praise Warren's contact balance and ability to break tackles. If he can tighten up his ball security, there's more than enough room on the roster for him.

Anthony McFarland - In the absence of Najee Harris and Benny Snell on Saturday night, there was ample room for Steelers backups to show off and Anthony McFarland did just that. As the starting tailback, he demonstrated his well-documented speed and some rarely seen strength too. McFarland gained 56 yards on seven carries and made a strong case that he should be the third-string back or better. 

Losers

Offensive line - Mitch Trubisky looked good, throwing for 63 yards and a touchdown in limited action but it was despite the pass-blocking performance of his offensive line. They blocked well in the run game but all three teams caved to the Seahawks' pass rush that had Trubisky, Rudolph and Pickett scrambling often.

Mason RudolphA promising start quickly soured for Rudolph. He led off his evening with a gorgeous touchdown pass to George Pickens - 26 yards dropped into the back corner of the endzone. 

Then his play deteriorated as the second-teamers began to rotate in. Rudolph was nearly picked off twice inside the red zone during the same drive and on the next one, he had a pass batted down at the line while operating deep in his own territory. His stat line - 9-15 for 93 yards and a score - doesn't tell the whole story. He was the worst of the three quarterbacks to play.  

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Arthur Maulet - Maulet was around the ball all evening - racking up five tackles, two for a loss - but at a certain point, when the ball keeps finding you it's a bad thing. He covered poorly and was targeted often because the Seahawks knew they could exploit him. 

Donavan Stiner - Repeatedly, Stiner's attempts at a tackle ended with empty arms and Seattle scores. On the first play of the second half, a whiff on Bo Melton led to a 39-yard gain and an eventual touchdown. In the fourth quarter, another missed tackle allowed Dareke Young to slide into the endzone for a game-tying touchdown. 

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