What elbow problem? Roethlisberger quiets doubters in opener

Time to prevent speaking about Ben Roethlisberger’s surgically repaired proper elbow.

A minimum of for now.

No matter lingering doubts Roethlisberger or the remainder of the Pittsburgh Steelers may have had over the state in their franchise quarterback’s passing arm had been put to relaxation throughout a somewhat 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 handiest in reality let it free a few occasions, he used to be environment friendly. He used to be affected person. He used to be even a bit spry, operating 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 operating again Saquon Barkley to only 6 yards speeding. For a group that expects to compete with Baltimore for the AFC North name, it used to be a promising get started. Even though it used to be only a get started.

“We mentioned later on it wasn’t absolute best, it wasn’t even excellent one of the most time offensively,” Roethlisberger mentioned. “However on the finish of the day we discovered a approach to win.”

A win that got here with numerous what trainer Mike Tomlin likes to name “meat at the bone,” that means there’s lots to paintings on forward of a discuss with through Denver on Sunday. That paintings, alternatively, is not going to come with any uncertainty about Roethlisberger’s standing. He is again. And so could be an offense that scored 3 touchdowns in a sport simply thrice throughout his prolonged absence in 2019.

“Ben informed us we will be able to be nice folks,” broad 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 vital ultimate 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, grew to become the sport in Pittsburgh’s desire for excellent when he careworn Jones right into a floater that ended up within the hands 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 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 why had been are enthusiastic about the crowd that we have got.”

WHAT NEEDS HELP

In all probability no workforce used to be affected extra through the loss of preseason video games than particular groups, because of the trouble in replicating game-like eventualities throughout apply. Nonetheless, Tomlin wasn’t in search of excuses after Diontae Johnson fumbled a punt and kicker Chris Boswell despatched a kickoff out of bounds to provide the Giants cast box place.

“We’ve a myriad of items to scrub 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 operating again took over when James Conner went down with an ankle harm early and grew to become in a career-best 113 yards speeding on 19 carries. He earned an endorsement from Tomlin that he can be a “bell cow” — a word Tomlin used to explain Conner ahead of the season began — will have to Conner’s harm prohibit him going ahead.

STOCK DOWN

Conner. Out to position to relaxation considerations over his sturdiness after lacking 9 video games over 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 activity.

INJURED

Proper take on Zach Banner edged Chukwuma Okorafor for the beginning activity following a spirited struggle throughout coaching camp. The enjoyment did not closing. Banner is most likely out longer term with a proper knee harm sustained in the second one part. Veteran Stefen Wisniewski is coping with a pectoral factor, although Tomlin sounded constructive each Conner and Wisniewski may apply 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 difficult to chase down. Lock has handiest been sacked 5 occasions 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, regarded pliable in a season-opening loss to Tennessee.

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