Roeth­lis­berger throws for 5 TDs in Steel­ers win

The Arizona Republic - - Nfl - Will Graves

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.

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