It took the Steelers some time to get started for openers, but when the defense gave a spark, the offense responded.
The first pick of the season was provided by outside linebacker TJ Watt early in the second quarter, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger began throwing touchdown passes shortly thereafter and the Steelers gathered from a couple of early deficits and eventually put the Giants away, 26-16, Monday evening at MetLife Stadium.
“I thought they were saying goodbye,” head coach Mike Tomlin said. “I thought they were physically tough, mentally tough, but we need to do some things better.
“I appreciate the effort, we just have to look for a higher ceiling.”
Watts ‘fourth career move gave the Steelers possession on the Giants’ 36-yard line with 12:35 left in the second quarter and the home team led, 10-3.
Roethlisberger kept possession with an 18-yard finish to tight end Eric Ebron on third-and-5 from the Giants ’31 and then ended it with a touchdown pass under duress to wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster on third-and-second 7 from New York 10. Running back Benny Snell’s blitz pickup of safety Jabrill Peppers helped give Roethlisberger just enough time to find Smith-Schuster running over the end zone.
Kicker Chris Boswell’s extra point attempt hit the right upright, and the Giants maintained the lead at 10-9, but not for long.
Two possessions later, the Steelers had 78 yards to cross in the final 1:32 before the break after a point.
They needed 1:25 to get their first lead of the season.
Roethlisberger hit wide receiver James Washington for 21, Smith-Schuster for 17 and Smith-Schuster for 14 before encrypting for 11 and a first down on the Giants ’13 with 14 seconds left before the break.
Then a slant to Washington turned into a catch-and-run touchdown as Washington accepted Roethlisberger’s passes of 10, shared security administrations Adrian Colbert and Julian Love at the 2 and continued to drive through Love and over the finish line.
A successful conversion from Boswell increased the Steelers’ lead to 16-10 just before the teams went to their locker rooms at the break.
“It brought back memories,” Smith-Schuster said of the two-minute march.