Steelers lead 14-3 at half; T.J. Watt leaves with groin injury

AP

The Vikings offense got a lot of positive reviews for their work against the Saints last Monday, but it seems that the presence of Sam Bradford, the New Orleans defense or both might have been a big part of the special sauce.

Minnesota managed 67 yards on 26 offensive plays in the first half with Case Keenum at quarterback in place of Bradford, who was scratched due to issues in the left knee that includes his twice-torn ACL. That’s resulted in just three points for the Vikings while the Steelers have gotten a pair of Ben Roethlisberger touchdown passes to take a 14-3 lead into halftime.

Roethlisberger hooked up with Martavis Bryant and JuJu Smith-Schuster for the scores as the Steelers jumped out to a 14-0 lead, but missed on five straight passes after that to slow the Steelers’ offensive success. He’d hit on a few more passes before halftime, but three straight incompletions on deep shots from halftime after the two minute warning meant Pittsburgh wouldn’t be adding any points.

Roethlisberger was 9-of-18 for 81 yards overall and also had a couple of deep throws turn into gains that set up the scores thanks to pass interference penalties against Vikings defensive backs. He also got Vikings defensive lineman Brian Robison to jump offside on a fourth down to set up the first touchdown of the game. Those miscues have hurt the Vikings on what’s been a generally good day for the defense.

Keenum was 6-of-13 for 53 yards on what’s generally not been a good day for the Minnesota offense. They may not have to tangle with Steelers rookie linebacker T.J. Watt in the second half as he’s questionable to return with a groin injury, but things will have to take a pretty dramatic turn for that to be enough to grease the skids for a comeback.