Steelers' Roethlisberger dismantles Bills in preseason tune-up
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Ben Roethlisberger needed only 11 plays and 1 minute, 33 seconds of clock time to turn a mostly bad night good for the Steelers in their starters' only lengthy audition of the preseason.
Pushed around by the Bills' defensive line of many Williamses for most of a downer of a first half, and with rookie right guard David DeCastro out with a potentially serious injury, the Steelers were backed up to their own 2-yard-line with 1:46 left before halftime of a 7-7 tie.
Given how Mario Williams and Kyle Williams seemed to be collapsing the Steelers' offensive line on every other play — the Steelers had only six first downs and 32 yards rushing to that point — this didn't look good. At all.
Then, one drive changed not only this game, but the Steelers' perspective on the entire preseason.
“It's all about how you respond to adversity,” receiver Antonio Brown said after the Steelers surged back behind his two touchdown catches to win, 38-7, turning all three turnovers into scores. “I think we did a good job rallying.”
Roethlisberger, even when the games don't count, routinely excels when time is short and the yardage is long. Give him even a sliver of clock time, and it might be enough. And this effort might be enough for the Steelers to feel confident about a preseason in which wide receiver Mike Wallace, deep pass completions and continuity have been missing.
“It felt like a real game, it felt like a regular season game,” linebacker Larry Foote said. “We started slow a little bit, and we needed a big play to get us going. We're right on track right now.”
It started when Roethlisberger hit Jonathan Dwyer, on a wheel route, for 33 yards along the Steelers sideline on a drive-saving third-and-9 from the 3 — one play after getting agitated at an illegal substitution penalty. He followed by finding Jerricho Cotchery on a slant for 16, Dwyer in the flat for 7 yards, Cotchery for 12, Emmanuel Sanders for 12 and Heath Miller for 11, all in rapid-fire but rhythmic progression.
Roethlisberger scrambled himself for 5, then connected with Brown in the end zone for 6 yards and a touchdown.
“I just started calling my own plays,” Roethlisberger said. “We went no-huddle and up-tempo, and we were throwing the ball.”
Or something they hadn't done with much effectiveness with the starters on the field for a limited time against the Eagles and Colts.
“He's something special,” Brown said.
On the drive, Roethlisberger was 7 for 8 for 92 yards and also stayed clean after being sacked twice earlier in the half.
The down note was the possible season-ending right knee injury to DeCastro, which coach Mike Tomlin called “potentially severe. We'll see what the MRI says.”
Defensive end Brett Keisel was lifted in the first half with a mild high ankle sprain, but he said later he “was fine.”
DeCastro, the first-round draft pick who was ready to become only the fourth rookie offensive lineman to start a Steelers season opener in the Super Bowl era, went down in significant pain less than four minutes into the game.
The second half started as well for the Steelers as the first half ended. Brown added his third touchdown catch in two games, splitting two defenders on a 39-yarder from backup Byron Leftwich 58 seconds into the half.
Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers stress improved conditioning in attempt to play past injuries
- Steelers’ reserve quarterbacks vie to secure spot behind Roethlisberger, Gradkowski
- Inside the Steelers: Rookie linebacker Chickillo continues to excel
- Starkey: Garoppolo baffles Steelers
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin says Latrobe session won’t differ from normal practice
- Memories of Steelers fan from Beaver Falls go beyond simple recall
- Inside the Steelers: Williams’ quickness out of backfield evident in drills
- Steelers notebook: LB Dupree sits out backs-on–backers drill
- Tight ends’ role in Steelers passing game continues to lessen but players remain selfless
- Steelers’ Wheaton adjusting his game moving to slot receiver
- Steelers RB Archer trying to catch up after tough rookie season