The Pittsburgh Steelers lost their preseason opener 18-13 to the New York Giants on Saturday, but the merit of a preseason game is hardly determined by a final score. Neal Coolong at Behind the Steel Curtain realized this and, among his takeaways from Saturday's game, highlighted the performance of running back LaRod Stephens-Howling.
Stephens-Howling was a seventh-round draft pick of the Arizona Cardinals in 2009 and played three seasons there before signing with the Steelers this offseason. He has 11 career rushing touchdowns, but you'd think he had a lot more based on Coolong's analysis from Saturday.
The Steelers' outside zone scheme made the short-but-quick Stephens-Howling look like a duck in water. His lateral movement was impressive, but his momentum was always moving forward. He made decisive cuts, but was patient enough to allow his blocks to get set.
Behind The Hyphen, the Steelers cracked off a 13-play, 63 yard drive that resulted in a field goal - and the team's most impressive offensive series of the game. While there weren't many great plays throughout the game (the offense was clearly rustier than the defense, particularly among the second and third teams), Stephens-Howling showed all the hype given to (Le'Veon) Bell, and speculation surrounding the roster status of (Isaac) Redman and Jonathan Dwyer can take a backseat behind what could end up being an outstanding Steelers free agent acquisition.
Stephens-Howling is from Johnston, Pa., 70 miles east of Pittsburgh, and he played college football for the Pittsburgh Panthers.