Time to forestall speaking about Ben Roethlisberger’s surgically repaired proper elbow.
No less than for now.
No matter lingering doubts Roethlisberger or the remainder of the Pittsburgh Steelers would possibly have had over the state in their franchise quarterback’s passing arm have been put to leisure all the way through a fairly drama-free 26-16 win over the New York Giants within the season opener on Monday night time.
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Enjoying for the primary time in 364 days, the 38-year-old finished 21 of 32 passes for 229 yards and 3 touchdowns. And whilst he simplest really let it free a few occasions, he used to be environment friendly. He used to be affected person. He used to be even somewhat spry, working for an 11-yard acquire at one level.
Whilst Roethlisberger wasn’t dominant, dominance wasn’t required. No longer on an evening the place the protection produced 3 sacks and two turnovers whilst retaining New York working again Saquon Barkley to simply 6 yards dashing. For a crew that expects to compete with Baltimore for the AFC North name, it used to be a promising get started. Even supposing it used to be only a get started.
“We mentioned in a while it wasn’t very best, it wasn’t even excellent one of the most time offensively,” Roethlisberger mentioned. “However on the finish of the day we discovered a technique to win.”
A win that got here with quite a few what trainer Mike Tomlin likes to name “meat at the bone,” that means there’s masses to paintings on forward of a consult with by way of Denver on Sunday. That paintings, alternatively, won’t come with any uncertainty about Roethlisberger’s standing. He is again. And so may well be an offense that scored 3 touchdowns in a sport simply 3 times all the way through his prolonged absence in 2019.
“Ben informed us we will be nice people,” huge receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster mentioned, “But when we paintings all in combination and we’re excellent, we will be nice as a crew.”
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Out of doors linebackers T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree picked up proper the place they left off in 2019, as one of the most ideal edge rush tandems within the NFL. Watt grabbed his fourth profession interception along with a take on for loss and two hits on New York quarterback Daniel Jones. Dupree, who’s in a freelance 12 months after the Steelers positioned the franchise tag on him, became the sport in Pittsburgh’s choose for excellent when he stressed Jones right into a floater that ended up within the palms of Steelers defensive take on Cam Heyward and ended a 19-play New York force.
“Bud is a perilous man, as is T.J.,” Tomlin mentioned. “You probably have an out of doors linebacker tandem like that within the Three-Four protection, you might have a chance to play nice protection and we’re cognizant of the contributions of the ones two males and appreciative of it and because of this have been are serious about the crowd that we’ve got.”
WHAT NEEDS HELP
Most likely no workforce used to be affected extra by way of the loss of preseason video games than particular groups, because of the trouble in replicating game-like eventualities all the way through follow. Nonetheless, Tomlin wasn’t on the lookout for excuses after Diontae Johnson fumbled a punt and kicker Chris Boswell despatched a kickoff out of bounds to present the Giants forged box place.
“We’ve got a myriad of items to wash up, issues that make you simple to overcome,” Tomlin mentioned. “It’s excellent to paintings on the ones issues with a win.”
Benny Snell. The second one-year working again took over when James Conner went down with an ankle damage early and became in a career-best 113 yards dashing on 19 carries. He earned an endorsement from Tomlin that he generally is a “bell cow” — a word Tomlin used to explain Conner prior to the season began — will have to Conner’s damage prohibit him going ahead.
Conner. Out to place to leisure considerations over his sturdiness after lacking 9 video games during the last two seasons, Conner used to be at the sideline early in the second one quarter with an ankle factor whilst Snell made a compelling case to take his process.
Proper take on Zach Banner edged Chukwuma Okorafor for the beginning process following a spirited combat all the way through coaching camp. The enjoyment did not final. Banner is most likely out longer term with a proper knee damage sustained in the second one part. Veteran Stefen Wisniewski is coping with a pectoral factor, regardless that Tomlin sounded positive each Conner and Wisniewski may follow this week. The standing of Professional Bowl proper guard David DeCastro — who sat out in opposition to the Giants — stays unsure.
58 — the choice of consecutive video games during which the Steelers have had a minimum of one sack, the fifth-longest such streak in NFL historical past. Denver quarterback Drew Lock, alternatively, will also be tricky to chase down. Lock has simplest been sacked 5 occasions in his six profession begins.
Discovering reinforcements alongside the offensive line with Banner out and the standing of DeCastro and Wisniewski unclear. Denver’s protection, alternatively, seemed pliable in a season-opening loss to Tennessee.