What elbow problem? Roethlisberger quiets doubters in opener

Time to prevent 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 relaxation right through a somewhat drama-free 26-16 win over the New York Giants within the season opener on Monday evening.

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Taking part in 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 most effective in reality let it unfastened a few instances, he was once environment friendly. He was once affected person. He was once even a bit of spry, working for an 11-yard acquire at one level.

Whilst Roethlisberger wasn’t dominant, dominance wasn’t required. Now not on an evening the place the protection produced 3 sacks and two turnovers whilst keeping New York working again Saquon Barkley to simply 6 yards dashing. For a group that expects to compete with Baltimore for the AFC North name, it was once a promising get started. Although it was once only a get started.

“We mentioned in a while it wasn’t easiest, it wasn’t even excellent one of the crucial time offensively,” Roethlisberger mentioned. “However on the finish of the day we discovered a technique to win.”

A win that got here with various what trainer Mike Tomlin likes to name “meat at the bone,” which means there may be masses to paintings on forward of a consult with through 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 recreation simply 3 times right through his prolonged absence in 2019.

“Ben informed us we will be able to be nice folks,” extensive receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster mentioned, “But when we paintings all in combination and we’re excellent, we will be able to be nice as a group.”

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WHAT’S WORKING

Outdoor linebackers T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree picked up proper the place they left off in 2019, as one of the crucial superb 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 yr after the Steelers positioned the franchise tag on him, became the sport in Pittsburgh’s want for excellent when he harassed Jones right into a floater that ended up within the fingers of Steelers defensive take on Cam Heyward and ended a 19-play New York force.

“Bud is a deadly man, as is T.J.,” Tomlin mentioned. “You probably have an outdoor linebacker tandem like that within the Three-Four protection, you may have a possibility to play nice protection and we’re cognizant of the contributions of the ones two males and appreciative of it and this is the reason have been are thinking about the gang that we’ve got.”

WHAT NEEDS HELP

Possibly no crew was once affected extra through the loss of preseason video games than particular groups, because of the trouble in replicating game-like scenarios right through observe. Nonetheless, Tomlin wasn’t looking for excuses after Diontae Johnson fumbled a punt and kicker Chris Boswell despatched a kickoff out of bounds to offer 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.”

STOCK UP

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 ahead of the season began — will have to Conner’s damage restrict him going ahead.

STOCK DOWN

Conner. Out to position to relaxation issues over his sturdiness after lacking 9 video games over the last two seasons, Conner was once at the sideline early in the second one quarter with an ankle factor whilst Snell made a compelling case to take his task.

INJURED

Proper take on Zach Banner edged Chukwuma Okorafor for the beginning task following a spirited fight right through coaching camp. The enjoyment did not ultimate. Banner is most likely out long run with a proper knee damage sustained in the second one part. Veteran Stefen Wisniewski is coping with a pectoral factor, despite the fact that Tomlin sounded constructive each Conner and Wisniewski may just observe this week. The standing of Professional Bowl proper guard David DeCastro — who sat out in opposition to the Giants — stays unsure.

KEY NUMBER

58 — the selection of consecutive video games through which the Steelers have had no less than one sack, the fifth-longest such streak in NFL historical past. Denver quarterback Drew Lock, alternatively, may also be tricky to chase down. Lock has most effective been sacked 5 instances in his six profession begins.

NEXT STEPS

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.

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