PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers aren’t enjoying like a workforce lacking Le’Veon Bell.
Ben Roethlisberger threw for 328 yards and 5 touchdowns, James Conner ran for 65 yards and a rating earlier than leaving late with a potential concussion, and the Steelers pounded the Carolina Panthers, 52-21, on Thursday night time for his or her fifth straight victory.
Extensive receiver Antonio Brown added eight receptions for 96 yards, together with a 53-yard landing catch within the second quarter. That capped an eventful day for Brown, who was cited for reckless driving within the morning after police clocked his Porsche driving over 100 miles an hour down a busy freeway in Pittsburgh’s northern suburbs.
Whereas Bell — a three-time Professional Bowl operating again who nonetheless hasn’t signed his one-year franchise tender — tweeted his ideas as he watched on tv, the Steelers (6-2-1) rolled on with out him. Bell has till Tuesday to signal a contract if he desires to play this season. His teammates have lengthy since bored with speaking about Bell’s standing, and with the lead within the A.F.C. North, the Steelers seemed to be doing simply wonderful on their very own.
Carolina (6-3) was not so lucky.
The Panthers’ three-game profitable streak got here to an abrupt halt in a metropolis the place they’ve by no means gained. Carolina fell to 0-Four in Pittsburgh and was by no means actually within the recreation after the Steelers scored 21 factors within the recreation’s first 11 minutes.
Cam Newton accomplished 23 of 29 passing makes an attempt for 193 yards and a pair of flips to Christian McCaffrey, the second-year operating again, that McCaffrey was scores. However Newton’s showdown with Roethlisberger by no means materialized. The Steelers sacked Newton 5 instances and barely let him get comfy.
Newton didn’t assist issues when he threw off his again foot out of the Carolina finish zone whereas attempting to keep away from being sacked within the first quarter. Pittsburgh linebacker Vince Williams raced beneath the floater and returned it 17 yards for a landing to present the Steelers a 14-7 lead they by no means got here near giving up.
McCaffrey completed with 138 yards whole offense (77 yards dashing, 61 yards receiving) and accounted for all three Panthers scores, however it wasn’t practically sufficient.
Pittsburgh’s 52 factors matched probably the most ever surrendered by the Panthers. Carolina allowed the identical whole in a 52-9 loss to Oakland on Dec. 24, 2000.
The Steelers held the 36-year-old Roethlisberger out of shape throughout the brief week in an effort to maintain him recent. Roethlisberger responded with one of many best performances of his profession, finishing 22 of 25 passes whereas spreading the ball to 9 totally different gamers on his method to an ideal quarterback ranking of 158.3.
Roethlisberger’s first go was a 75-yard landing to JuJu Smith-Schuster on Pittsburgh’s first offensive snap, and his final got here on a 6-yard toss to the rookie Jaylen Samuels on the primary play of the fourth quarter.
In between, he did just a little little bit of every little thing. Roethlisberger even confirmed off his legs, scrambling for 18 yards within the third quarter on a play that ended with Carolina security Eric Reid being ejected for concentrating on after Reid appeared to dive at Roethlisberger’s head because the quarterback tried to slip. Reid went out to shake Roethlisberger’s hand as a peace providing earlier than making his method to the Carolina locker room.
Reid was signed by Carolina in September, six months after he filed a grievance alleging collusion by the N.F.L. to stop groups from signing him due to his participation in protests towards racial injustice throughout the nationwide anthem alongside Colin Kaepernick, his former San Francisco 49ers teammate.