Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown tease another big year in season debut

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers' first-team offense ran 15 plays for three points against the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday night. That won't fuel the Super Bowl chants. But the connection between Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown still looked effortless on two over-the-middle plays for 28 yards. The yardage doesn't look like much, but they could have filled up the stat sheet. The timing is there. This is the preseason, and the offense looked to spread the ball around in a 19-15 loss.

QB depth chart: After Roethlisberger took a strip-sack on the first drive, the Steelers didn't mind removing him on short work to avoid injury. Roethlisberger completed 6 of 9 passes for 73 yards on two drives, mostly working the intermediate passing game. Landry Jones, back from an abdominal injury, played like a reliable backup by completing 21 of 31 passes for 163 yards and a score.

When it was starters vs. starters, the Steelers looked ...: Adequate but not flashy. The Steelers moved the ball but seemed content running the offense without taking any major risk, which is fine for this setting. Targeting Knile Davis and Jesse James in the red zone resulted in a quick field goal. The Steelers' defense aided the Colts' opening-drive touchdown with a missed tackle and a holding penalty at the goal line. On the second drive, Ryan Shazier's leaping interception in zone coverage was the highlight.

One reason to be concerned: The secondary had a few issues once again, which isn't overly alarming in a small sample size but still a factor. Artie Burns and Robert Golden failed to bring down Donte Moncrief in the open field, resulting in a 55-yard gain that should have been an easy tackle. Ross Cockrell, who split first-team reps with Coty Sensabaugh, played more physical than a week ago but got called for pass interference and got beat by Phillip Dorsett down the sideline for 32 yards. Giving up yards will happen, but the Steelers will need to minimize the miscues before Week 1.

That guy could start: The lone available starting spot on the offense is running back -- for Week 1 only, if Le'Veon Bell needs a spell after returning to the team on short notice. The trio of James Conner, Knile Davis and Fitz Toussaint (leg injury) isn't electric, but it can help in short spurts. Davis opened the game with gains of 10, 11 and 9 yards. Conner looked more decisive than the previous week, with 26 yards on four carries.

Rookie watch: Third-round cornerback Cam Sutton's making plays was a welcome sight, considering the Steelers' need for cornerback depth. Sutton missed most of training camp but acquitted himself well in his debut, recording a diving pass breakup and a tackle for a loss. Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster appeared to hurt his knee on an 8-yard reception but returned to the game and broke a tackle for a 15-yard gain.

X-man: Tight end Xavier Grimble's slick one-handed catch for a 10-yard touchdown reminds why the Steelers are intrigued by him as a backup tight end and red zone target. Grimble committed a few drops in training camp, but he's an impressive athlete who can block.

Unfamiliar sight: A 39-year-old franchise sack leader running with the second-team defense in a preseason game was different. But James Harrison produced in that role with a half-sack of quarterback Stephen Morris. The power off the edge looks intact.