Ten different Steelers touched the ball on offence. 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 one-year 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 Bells self-imposed 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 Browns 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 defence, they were playing like their hair was on fire.”
Edit Slot to 247Sports Home Slot to Pittsburgh Steelers Newsletter Newsletter J.J. Watt may be a proud member of the Houston Texans, but he definitely has an invested interest in Pittsburghs Thursday night game against the Carolina Panthers. Watts younger brother, T.J., in the middle of his second season as a starting outside linebacker for the Steelers. Prior to the T.J.s game against the Panthers, J.J. referenced getting a Watt No. 90 “color rush” jersey to support his younger brother.
Bell has until next Tuesday to sign a contract if he wants to play this season. His teammates have long since tired of talking about Bells status and at this point.
And why bother? For three hours on Thursday night Pittsburgh looked every bit as potent without Bell as it did with him. If he returns, they insist theyll welcome him with open arms. If he doesnt, they are intent on keeping the train rolling.
The Panthers (6-3) saw their three-game winning streak come to an abrupt halt in a city where theyve 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 games first 11 minutes.
Cam Newton completed 23 of 29 for 193 yards and a pair of flips to Christian McCaffrey that the second-year running back turned into scores, but Newtons showdown with Roethlisberger never materialized. The Steelers sacked Newton five times and rarely let him get comfortable. McCaffrey finished with 138 yards total offence (77 yards rushing, 61 yards receiving) and accounted for all three Panther touchdowns but it wasnt nearly enough.
The rout is on at Heinz Field. The Steelers scored 14 points in the third quarter, extending their lead to 45-14 after three quarters. They're threatening for more to start the fourth. Ben Roethlisberger has four touchdown passes and the Steelers have 431 total yards of offense. It's been an ugly night for the visitors from Carolina.
“We had a lot of our noses bleeding early on,” Newton said. “Weve got to stop it and keep things going in our favour. We just got outplayed today.”
Video: Panthers vs. Steelers Week 10 Highlights | NFL 2018
Newton didnt help matters when he threw off his back foot out of the Carolina end zone while trying to avoid getting sacked in the first quarter. Pittsburgh linebacker Vince Williams raced under the floater and returned it 17 yards for a touchdown to give the Steelers a 14-7 lead they never came close to relinquishing.
Roethlisbergers rainbow to Brown put Pittsburgh up 31-14 at the half and when Roethlisberger found Vance McDonald in the back on the end zone on the Steelers first drive of the second half, the competitive portion of the evening was over. Pittsburghs 52 points matched the most ever surrendered by the Panthers in franchise history. Carolina allowed the same total in a 52-9 loss to Oakland on Dec. 24, 2000.
Breaking down LeVeon Bells latest cryptic tweet
“They did some good things against us,” Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said. “We made too many mistakes early on to give ourselves an opportunity to win a football game.”
Carolina safety Eric Reid was ejected in the third quarter after being called for targeting when he dived at Roethlisbergers head as the Pittsburgh quarterback was sliding at the end of an 18-yard scramble.
Several Steelers, most of them offensive linemen, took exception with the hit and a brief scrum ensued. Pittsburgh centre Maurkice Pouncey said Roethlisberger offered to pay any fines the linemen may accrue for sticking up for him.
Mike Tomlin set the tone with regard to answering Bell related questions on Sunday prior to Pittsburghs 23-16 victory over the Ravens. “We hadn’t spent a lot of time focused on it because it’s not in our control,” Tomlin said when asked about Bells continued absence. “Those decisions are Le’Veon’s. We need volunteers, not hostages. We’re focused on the guys that are here and working and James is definitely in that mix. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. I think our guys have done an awesome job of being focused on the things that matter, the things that are within our control, the challenges that await us like this one today.”
Video: Back-to-Back Steelers TDs w/ JuJus 75-Yarder & Cams Pick 6!
Reed, signed by Carolina in September, walked over to Roethlisberger and apologized before being escorted to the locker room.
“I understand the NFL is trying to protect quarterbacks but when theyre running the ball theyre running backs,” Reid said. “Im not thinking that Its Ben, dont tackle him. Theres a guy running with the ball so Im doing my job.”
Edit Slot to 247Sports Home Slot to Pittsburgh Steelers Newsletter Newsletter LeVeon Bell deleted the Steelers from his Twitter account on Thursday, hours before Pittsburghs Thursday Night Football matchup with the Carolina Panthers. On Wednesday, Bell posted two bizarre tweets defending his ongoing holdout. Despite his recent actions, Steelers present Art Rooney II told SiriusXM NFL Radio that he is still expecting Bell to return to the team before the Nov. 13 deadline to do so.
Roethlisberger and Newton both wore cleats during the pregame that paid tribute to the 11 members of the Tree of Life synagogue that were killed in a mass shooting last month. Roethlisbergers cleats featured the names of all 11 victims while Newtons cleats read “Hatred Cant Weaken a City of Steel.”
While Bells end game this season continues to be a mystery, James Conner continues to take advantage of his opportunity to play. In Sundays win over the Ravens, Conner became the first player in NFL history to have four games of at least 100 rushing yards, 50 receiving yards and one touchdown in the same season. Conner, who is in the second year of his rookie contract, has made his case to be the Steelers starting running back regardless of when Bell returns to the team.
Panthers: Travel to Detroit on Nov. 18 to take on the Lions. Carolina is 6-2 all-time against Detroit.
Kinkhabwala — who also reported on Wednesday that the Steelers had expected to hear from Bell upon his return to Pittsburgh this week — added that the player told her that Bells ongoing situation is overshadowing the emergence of James Conner, the teams recent success as well as their overall goals for the 2018 season. This is all transpiring just hours before the Steelers will host the Carolina Panthers on Thursday Night Football.
Steelers vs. Panthers final score, takeaways: Steelers demolish Panthers on Big Bens perfect night
Steelers: Visit Jacksonville on Nov. 18. The Jaguars beat Pittsburgh twice on the road last season, including a 45-42 upset in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Steelers WR Antonio Brown pulled over for going 100 mph in his Porsche – NY Daily News
Two hot teams meet at Heinz Field on Thursday night when the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Carolina Panthers.
The Panthers (6-2) have won three in a row, including Sundays 42-28 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Steelers (5-2-1) have won four straight after knocking off the Baltimore Ravens 23-16 on the road.
Cam Newton wears cleats honoring victims of Pittsburgh shooting
You can watch the matchup between the two teams LIVE tonight on TSN1, TSN3 and TSN4 at 7:30pm et/4:30pm pt.
Antonio Brown cited for doing over 100 mph
The Steelers turned their season around when the defense started to play better. They have allowed no more than 21 points in any of the past four games, including a strong effort in Baltimore Sunday when they allowed a season-low 16 points.
Newton is a huge danger, especially now he has tight end Greg Olsen back as his top target, while his running prowess and partnership with running back Christian McCaffrey presents a real headache for the Steelers defence to solve.
“We are growing every day,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said. “Guys are getting better. Technically, they are growing in terms of knowledge, they are growing in terms of situational understanding and when you do those things you make plays, and you minimize negativity and those two things happen at the same time. Hopefully weve made a few plays and hopefully weve prevented a few plays with that approach.”
That defense will be tested by Carolina, which has put up 78 points over its past two games against the Ravens and Buccaneers and has scored 30 points or more in four of its past six games.
Roethlisbergers rainbow to Brown put Pittsburgh up 31-14 at the half and when Roethlisberger found Vance McDonald in the back on the end zone on the Steelers first drive of the second half, the competitive portion of the evening was over. Pittsburghs 52 points matched the most ever surrendered by the Panthers in franchise history. Carolina allowed the same total in a 52-9 loss to Oakland on 24 December 2000.
Kovacevic: All Steelers myths, memes blown to smithereens
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is playing well again. He ranks 10th in the league in passer rating, and during the three-game winning streak he has completed 69.9 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and no interceptions. Newton has also run for 342 yards on 73 carries this season.
Video: Pittsburghs Defense Rack Up 5 Sacks vs. Panthers
Running back Christian McCaffrey has become the all-purpose back the Panthers had hoped he would become. He has 880 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns.
Video: Pittsburghs Defense Rack Up 5 Sacks vs. Panthers
“You should start with Cam Newton because he can run it, he can throw it,” Tomlin said. “Hes strong. He can make all the throws with accuracy from a distance standpoint well. But I really think whats going on with him is just looking at the infusion of roles between what he and McCaffrey are able to do.
“Theyre multi-dimensional players that really perform really well together. McCaffreys playing more snaps I think than any other offensive player in football. He leads them in receptions (49), hes a rushing threat, as is Cam Newton. The way that those two guys operate and the things that (offensive coordinator) Norv Turner is able to do with those two guys is really creating issues for their opponents and particularly of late.”
If the early returns are any indication, this game is going to be a shootout. The Panthers have a mobile quarterback in Cam Newton, something of a kryptonite for the Steelers, and they have used Pittsburghs dedication to containing him to unleash Christian McCaffrey at running back so far. The Steelers, on the other hand, simply have so many weapons that no defense is capable of holding them down for long. The Panthers are no doubt focused on Antonio Brown and James Conner, the leaders in the passing and running game, respectively, and Smith-Schuster punished them for that with the games first big play. The first team to generate any momentum on defense is probably going to be the winner of this clash of playoff teams at Heinz Field.
The Steelers are healthy for their Thursday night game. Oh yeah, and they expect Bell back soon.
“Hes willing to call it,” Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said of Turners use of gadget plays. “The biggest thing is we use the right kind of guys. Norv is creating things and putting things together.”
Edit Slot to 247Sports Home Slot to Pittsburgh Steelers Newsletter Newsletter Well, that didnt take long. The Pittsburgh Steelers fell behind the Carolina Panthers 7-0 after the first drive of their Thursday Night game in what looked to be the beginning of a struggle against one of the NFLs top offenses. Given their propensity for starting slow this season, it appeared as if the Steelers were going to have to dig their way out of a large deficit. But no. It only took the Steelers one play on offense to tie the score. Ben Roethlisberger dropped back to pass, patiently scanned the field, and then hit JuJu Smith-Schuster for a 75-yard touchdown to knot the game at 7-7.
“We dont necessarily call them trick plays because we work on them so much, and the way we execute them is like any other play,” he said.
The return of tight end Greg Olsen has helped the Carolina attack. He missed three games with a broken foot suffered in the season opener, but he has made 15 catches with three touchdown receptions during the three-game winning streak.
That defense, which is led by linebackers Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly, will be tested by Steelers running back James Conner, who is second in the NFL in rushing yards with 706 and has four consecutive 100-yard rushing games.
The Panthers will also have to deal with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who said the no-huddle offense could be a big part of the plan because of the short preparation time.
“Weve been doing it for a while,” Roethlisberger said. “We know it. We know it pretty well. We did it really well in Baltimore, and just being able to pick up the pace and the tempo.”
Roethlisberger ranks third in the league in passing yards per game, and he has eight touchdown passes and two interceptions during the four-game winning streak.
Wide receiver Antonio Brown is a problem for any defense, even though his numbers are down this season. He has 51 catches and averages 74.2 receiving yards per game, which ranks 21st in the league. He had five receptions for a season-low 42 receiving yards on Sunday against Baltimore.
The Steelers have won the past five games they played against the Panthers, and they are 3-0 against Carolina all-time in games played in Pittsburgh.