Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger returned to the field in impressive fashion Monday night, leading his team over the New York Giants 26-16. Combined with a suffocating defense, the team from the Steel City showed just how dangerous it could be when fully healthy.
It had been 364 days since Roethlisberger played in an NFL game after suffering a season-ending injury to his right elbow on Sept. 15, 2019, in a Week 2 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. After a grueling recovering program and much physical therapy, the two-time Super Bowl champ looked as good as new on Monday Night Football.
Big Ben completed 21 of 32 passes for 229 yards and three touchdowns. He also scampered his large frame for an 11-yard keeper that resulted in a first down. While he did lose a fumble, all his passes were completed to members of his own team. He had a passer rating of 117.8.
Roethlisberger told ESPN’s Maria Taylor during a post-game interview that he was “just so excited” to be leading the Steelers once again.
“I told the guys in the locker room before the game that I’m back because of them. I don’t need to accomplish anything personally anymore,” Big Ben said.
“It’s about being with a defense that I think is as good as any I have ever played with, skill guys that are young and fun to play with and then, of course my line, who I love to death and they love me. They are the reason I came back to play,” he added.
Running back Bennie Snell also contributed in a might way, rushing for 113 yards on 19 carries. It was his first 100-yard performance in his second season in the NFL. Star wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster had an impressive evening as well, catching six passes for 69 yards and two touchdowns.
While Giants quarterback Daniel Jones threw for 279 yards and two touchdowns, he also threw two picks, and was sacked three times. Completing just 26 of 41 passes dropped his passer rating below 80. The Steelers defense set up camp in the Giants’ backfield, making it virtually impossible for Jones and the offense to get settled.
Giants star running back Saquon Barkley looked like an aging veteran trying to break through the Steelers’ front line. The Penn State stud ran for only six yards on 15 carries and no touchdowns. In fact, both Big Ben and Jones ran for more yards than Barkley.
After the loss, Barkley said, “I’ve got to be better.”
“I’ve got to be better for the team. Got to find a way to get the run game going. That’s just how I truly believe. I know that is going to be a key part of our success. I still believe in it,” Barkley said. “Got to give credit where credit is due. [The Steelers] have a great defensive front.”