It took a little bit of time for him to get going, but Ben Roethlisberger will likely be pleased with the final results of his first game since Week Two of last season.
Roethlisberger went 21-of-32 for 229 yards and three touchdowns and the Steelers cruised to a 26-16 win in his return from an elbow injury. The first touchdown came on a throw to JuJu Smith-Schuster in the second quarter and he snuck in a second to James Washington just before the half to give the Steelers a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
While Roethlisberger was making his return to the lineup, running back Benny Snell was doing his part to ensure he becomes a bigger part of it. Snell ran 19 times for 113 yards and made James Conner‘s departure with an ankle injury an afterthought given how little success Conner had before getting hurt.
There were some good flashes from the Giants Offense as well, including a 19-play drive in the third quarter with the Steelers up by six. The first 18 plays featured Daniel Jones making smart throws and running for gains when nothing was there, but he made a terrible decision to try a throw with edge rusher Bud Dupree bearing down on him on play No. 19. The ball popped into the air and down into Cam Heyward‘s mitts.
Jones hit Darius Slayton for a 41-yard touchdown in the first half and the duo hooked up for another score in garbage time, but Saquon Barkley was rendered totally ineffective by the Steelers Defense. He ran 15 times for six yards and found himself getting swarmed in the backfield on a healthy number of those touches. Pittsburgh also pressured Jones most of the night and got to him for three sacks in a strong overall defensive performance.
The Giants will have to figure out a way to get Barkley going in Chicago next Sunday. The Steelers will hope for some good injury news on Conner and right tackle Zack Banner before their home opener against the Broncos.