The Pittsburgh Steelers secured the first win of the 2021 NFL preseason, defeating the Dallas Cowboys 16-3 in the 2021 Hall of Fame game. The Steelers entertained the fans by keeping their starters in for three drives, giving us a glimpse of some potential strategy changes heading into the 2021 regular season. The Cowboys took a more conservative approach.
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- Najee Harris: 7 carries, 22 yards (18 yards after contact)
- Chase Claypool: 4 targets, 3 rec., 62 yards (15.3 aDOT)
SNAP COUNTS (STARTERS ONLY)
Believe the Najee Harris Hype: Harris didn’t produce any highlights, but he did play 100% of the snaps when the Steelers' starters were in the game. Pittsburgh typically gave one back the vast majority of snaps last season, which appears to be the case this season with Harris.
Consider moving Chase Claypool up your rankings: Claypool made the only highlight-worthy play of the first half thanks to a 45-yard catch, but he was slow to get up afterward. He had played 100% of offensive snaps before that play. The now second-year receiver took the field on 60-70% of snaps over the second half of last season and should have a larger, more diverse role this year.
Keep an eye on Michael Gallup and the Cowboys receivers: Gallup was the only starting wide receiver who saw game action for Dallas tonight, and he only lasted seven snaps before bowing out. Traditionally an outside receiver, Gallup has reportedly been playing in the slot more this season. He was the furthest outside wide receiver on each of his plays tonight, so the reports haven't been proven true just yet.
Don’t worry about Tony Pollard: The Cowboys back played very few snaps with the starters, but that’s only because he left the field five snaps into the game. He’s still the clear-cut backup running back in Dallas.
Don’t draft Kalen Ballage or Jaylen Samuels: Anthony McFarland Jr. received playing time before Ballage tonight, and he was even taken out of the game earlier. Samuels didn’t see action until the late third quarter. There is a chance neither back makes the 53-man roster.
Keep an eye on Simi Fehoko: The fifth-round rookie is currently seventh on the Cowboys' receiving depth chart but saw significant playing time in the Hall of Fame Game, starting in the middle of the second quarter until the end of the third. The former Stanford Cardinal only caught one 4-yard pass and will need to pass at least one player on the depth chart just to make the roster.