The Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense was stuck in mud for most of the game. But when they were able to get into their tempo offense at the end of the first half, they put together their best drive of the game.
“We went to a four wide receiver, one tight end set,” Ben Roethlisberger told reporters following the Steelers’ 21-18 win. “Throwing the ball. Trying to create a mismatch on the backside with AB and JuJu.”
JuJu Smith-Schuster wound up playing 26 snaps, per PFF’s Nathan Jahnke. That comes out to about 43%, a higher number than I think most anticipated.
Pittsburgh got the ball on their nine yard line with 3:53 left in the second quarter. They drove 91 yards on seven plays and really, it was 95 after a penalty on the first player pushed them back to the five. A little luck came their way too. Roethlisberger fired deep over the middle for Antonio Brown. Middle linebacker Joe Schobert made a diving deflection on the ball but Brown was able to track it, breaking into open field and weaving his way around DBs for a gain of 50.
Roethlisberger and Brown hooked up two more times for 30 yards before the touchdown, Ben zipping the ball over the middle to Jesse James. That put the Steelers up 14-7.
“To come into the locker room at halftime with the opportunity to get another set on the board – which we didn’t do – but we at least give ourselves a chance for it.”
It was one of two drives picked up at least 50 yards. The other resulted in another touchdown though aided by a long pass interference policy. And in the end, just enough of a spark to knock off the Cleveland Browns in unspectacular fashion.
But when it’s the NFL, when it’s Week One, and when it’s an AFC North game, you take the win anyway you can get it.