Much has been made of Ben Roethlisberger’s return from elbow surgery.
“I have no doubts I’m going to be able to come back and play well — none,” Roethlisberger told told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ron Cook. “I have complete confidence in that. I’m throwing without pain for the first time in years.”
There are doubts about the 38-year-old’s optimism as he comes off a procedure on his throwing arm. But he looked pretty good on Monday in throwing his first touchdown pass of the new season.
Roethlisberger’s arm looks good early
With the Steelers trailing the New York Giants 10-3 early in the second quarter, Roethlisberger faced an all-out blitz in the red zone on third down. He stepped deep into the pocket and lofted a precision pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster, who hauled in the 11-yard touchdown in the end zone.
The pass, in reality, traveled about 25 yards in the air. And it was all arm from Roethlisberger, who threw the pass off his back foot.
One pass obviously isn’t going to quell the concerns surrounding the Steelers’ aging Pro Bowl quarterback. But it was an encouraging start to Roethlisberger’s season.
Power move secures Roethlisberger’s second score
Roethlisberger looked good again at the end of the half, executing a two-minute drill for a touchdown drive.
This time, he found receiver James Washington short of the end zone on a pass from the 13-yard line. But Washington would not be denied when he appeared to be stood up just short of the goal line by Giants cornerback Julian Love.
Washington stayed upright and powered through Love and past a pair of pursuing Giants defenders to secure Roethlisberger’s second touchdown pass of the night and a 16-10 Steelers lead.
Can Steelers contend in 2020?
The Steelers have a lot of pieces in place to compete this season, including a swarming defense and talented skill players like Smith-Schuster and running back James Conner.
If Roethlisberger can return to his Pro Bowl form, the Steelers should be competitive in the AFC North.
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