High-fly­ing Steel­ers in the NFL’s fast lane

Roeth­lis­berger tosses five touch­downs in romp

The Province - - SPORTS -

PITTS­BURGH — The Pitts­burgh Steel­ers aren’t play­ing like a team miss­ing Le’Veon Bell.

Ben Roeth­lis­berger threw for 328 yards and five touch­downs, James Con­ner ran for 65 yards and a score be­fore leav­ing late with a pos­si­ble con­cus­sion and the Steel­ers pounded the Carolina Pan­thers 52-21 Thurs­day night for their fifth straight vic­tory.

An­to­nio Brown added eight re­cep­tions for 96 yards, in­clud­ing a 53-yard touch­down in the sec­ond quar­ter, to cap an event­ful day that be­gan with the star wide re­ceiver be­ing cited for reck­less driv­ing af­ter po­lice clocked Brown’s Porsche driv­ing over 100 m.p.h. down a busy high­way in the sub­urbs.

While Bell — a three-time Pro Bowl run­ning back who still hasn’t signed his one-year fran­chise ten­der — tweeted his thoughts as he watched on tele­vi­sion, the Steel­ers (6-2-1) rolled on with­out him. Bell has un­til Tues­day to sign a con­tract if he wants to play this sea­son. The Pan­thers (6-3) saw their three-game win­ning streak come to an abrupt halt in a city where they’ve never won. Carolina fell to 0-4 all-time in Pitts­burgh and was never re­ally in it af­ter the Steel­ers scored 21 points in the game’s first 11 min­utes.

Cam New­ton com­pleted 23 of 29 passes for 193 yards. Run­ning back Chris­tian McCaf­frey con­verted a pair of those into scores, but New­ton’s show­down with Roeth­lis­berger never ma­te­ri­al­ized. The Steel­ers sacked New­ton five times and rarely let him get com­fort­able. JETS’ DARNOLD SIDE­LINED

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Josh McCown is go­ing from men­tor to starter this week for the New York Jets.

The 39-year-old quar­ter­back will be un­der cen­tre Sun­day against the Buf­falo Bills in place of in­jured rookie Sam Darnold, who’s side­lined with a strained right foot.

“I’m ready to rule him out as a starter for this week,” coach Todd Bowles said of Darnold Thurs­day. “I don’t know if I’ll rule him out yet for the game.”

That means Darnold still could po­ten­tially be the No. 2 quar­ter­back Sun­day. If not, Davis Webb would be pro­moted from the prac­tice squad to serve as McCown’s backup.

Ei­ther way, the start­ing job is McCown’s, at least for this week.

“I’m ex­tremely com­fort­able with him,” Bowles said. “We talk all the time. He un­der­stands the game and the team and we see things the same way.

“So I’m com­fort­able.” McCown has not taken a snap in a reg­u­lar-sea­son game this sea­son as the Jets have fo­cused on de­vel­op­ing Darnold. The No. 3 over­all pick won the job out of train­ing camp, but was in­jured dur­ing New York’s 13-6 loss at Mi­ami last week­end.

— THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Vance McDon­ald hauls in one of five TD passes thrown by Ben Roeth­lis­berger in the Steel­ers’ 52-21 rout Thurs­day over the Pan­thers in Pitts­burgh.

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