Roethlisberger throws for 5 TDs in Steelers win
PITTSBURGH – Ben Roethlisberger’s first pass went for a touchdown. His last did the same. And in between the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback and his redhot team put together systematic 52-21 dismantling of Carolina on Thursday night that left little doubt about their depth and their talent regardless of whether Le’Veon Bell ever shows up for work or not.
Ten different Steelers touched the ball on offense. Six of them scored. None of them were named Bell. While the three-time Pro Bowl running back tweeted his thoughts from home while waiting – and waiting – to sign his oneyear franchise tender, Pittsburgh ripped off its fifth straight victory with stunning ease.
“Really big performance against a really good team on a short week so there is a lot to be proud of,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said. “But we are probably not that good.”
Maybe not, but Pittsburgh (6-2-1) looked every bit the part of legitimate contender in the AFC, perhaps for the first time this season.
Roethlisberger completed 22 of 25 passes for 328 yards and five touchdowns while posting a perfect quarterback rating of 158.3. James Conner, who has filled in capably during Bell’s selfimposed sabbatical, ran for 65 yards and a score before being evaluated for a concussion late.
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 mph down a busy highway in the northern city suburbs.
“This is what we expected,” Roethlisberger said.
“We knew we were going to have to put up a lot of points. We did that. The defense, they were playing like their hair was on fire.”
Bell has until next Tuesday to sign a contract if he wants to play this season.