A win never hurt so bad. Extending a two game winning streak never looked uglier.
The Killer B’s offense lost their sting Sunday when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was carted off the field in the second half, after sustaining an ugly left knee injury.
Roethlisberger carried his hot start in 2015 into the game, when he connected on his first 7 passes for 71 yards on the opening drive that led to a field goal. He was 20-24 for 192 yards on the day, before doom came midway through the third quarter, when Rams safety Mark Barron sack Roethlisberger low on his left knee.
Right now all the Steelers are saying is #7 will have an MRI when the team gets back to Pittsburgh. The Steelers All-Time leading passer was completing 72.3 percent of his passes for 720 yards and 4 touchdowns in the first two games.
It was a weird day all around. The way the pre-game ended should’ve signaled something gloomy would eventually happen. The opening kickoff was delayed for over twenty-five minutes after the fireworks from the Rams pregame entrance caught the Edward Jones dome turf on fire.
Before the Roethlisberger injury, the defense was the story of the game. Defensive Coordinator Keith Butler’s group held quarterback Nick Foles and the Rams offense to 2 for 12 on 3rd and 4th down conversions. They also got 2 sacks and an interception of Foles, while holding St. Louis to 258 total net yards. I said after last week’s game, that against teams that prefer to run the ball first to set up the pass, this defense will be alright. Even without emerging star at Linebacker, Ryan Shazier, who sat out Sunday’s with a shoulder injury.
The loss of Big Ben also overshadowed another outstanding performance by my vote as the NFL’s best wide receiver, Antonio Brown. Brown extended his NFL record 5+ catches, for 50+ yards streak to 35 games on the first drive. He finished the game with 11 receptions and 108 yards.
Le’Veon Bell returned from his two game suspension and reintroduced the League to the guy many considered the “best all-around running back” in the NFL last season. Bell finished with 62 rushing yards on 19 carries and 7 receptions for 70 yards, but had several spectacular plays that showed his explosiveness and superb agility. Without Roethlisberger, you can expect Bell’s number to get called more.
Last week I was critical of the offense for losing the time of possession battle almost 2 to 1, this week the Steelers won what I believe is one of the top keys to every game, 32:19 to 27:41. Going forward, regardless of Roethlisberger long term prognosis, this will need to be the norm in order for the Black and Gold to get W’s. Having Bell back in the fold, along with DeAngelo Williams should help tilt this in their favor week after week.
Next up for the Steelers, the Terrell Sugg-less Baltimore Ravens Thursday night by the banks of the Three Rivers in Pittsburgh. Baltimore is 0-3 for the first time in franchise history. A.J. Green of the Cincinnati Bengals exploded on that defense for 227 yards and 2 touchdowns, Steeler Nation can only hope Antonio Brown can expose that weakness, even without his main gunslinger.