(KDKA)- The Pittsburgh Steelers looked a little rusty in their Week 1 win over the New York Giants. But that’s to be expected after a canceled preseason, with a returning quarterback who missed last season’s final 14 games. The Steelers, and Ben Roethlisberger, ultimately did not disappoint. Pittsburgh put up 26 points and shut down running back Saquon Barkley. Big Ben threw for 229 yards and three touchdowns on 21-32 passing.
The Steelers were led by defense and the running game. The defense made several big plays, including Cam Heyward’s interception of a deflected Daniel Jones pass to end a 19-play, 87-yard Giants drive. Benny Snell stepped in for James Conner, who injured his ankle, to pick up 113 yards on 19 carries, his first 100-yard game.
“I was wondering about the running game coming in for them,” said NFL On CBS analyst Charles Davis. What’s that going to be like? And then Conner gets hurt early, but Benny Snell certainly served as a great backup. Over 100 yards, showed a burst. I knew he had the inside running, knew he had the force. That was a big deal to see that get going for Pittsburgh. Now they’ll have a concern with Zach Banner, the starting right tackle went down and it appears to be season-ending. That’s a tough one for them, because that offensive line was getting solidified.”
Roethlisberger’s return was positive, however. And the Steelers certainly benefited from once again having leadership at the quarterback position. “I thought he was very good for the first game back in a year,” said Davis. “He looked good. JuJu Smith-Schuster certainly looked like he was happy to have him back, didn’t he? He was very happy to have him back because his numbers really dropped last year without Big Ben.”
Smith-Schuster caught 42 passes for 552 yards and three touchdowns over the course of his 12 games in 2019. He hauled in six passes for 69 yards and two touchdowns against the Giants.
The Steelers will rely on a tough defense until Roethlisberger is comfortable again in the offense. The unit allowed the Giants to gain just 29 yards on the ground and sacked Daniel Jones three times. “Defensively, I don’t have too many concerns about Pittsburgh,” said Davis. “They have the whole package. And as disappointing as it was for the Giants to throw that interception on the 19-play drive, that just tells you about a Pittsburgh team that hung in there for 19 plays and made a play that turned the tide.”
The Steelers play the Broncos Sunday, September 20 @ 1 pm ET on CBS.