Steelers PostGame Commentary: Week One at Giants

By COMON Network Team

Final Score – Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) 26 def. New York Giants (0-1) 16

The Steelers saw the return of Ben Roethlisberger Monday night and, when all was said and done, the Steelers moved to 16-2 on Monday Night Football under Mike Tomlin with a 26-16 win in the Meadowlands to open the season for the first time in a few years.

The Giants struck first when Graham Gano connected on a 21-yard field goal with 10:34 remaining in the first stanza after a muffed punt. Chris Boswell made a 41-yard field goal with 0:49 left in the first to tie the game.

Darius Slayton caught a 41-yard pass from Daniel Jones to give the G-Men the lead with 13:45 left in the opening half. Gano’s PAT made it 10-3 before JuJu Smith-Schuster scored on a 10-yard pass from Ben Roethlisberger with 9:01 to play in the quarter. With seven seconds to go before the break, Roethlisberger completed a pass to James Washington and he fought his way in for a 13-yard score to give the Steelers the lead at the break. Boswell had doinked the PAT on the JuJu score.

Boswell hit from 36 in the fourth quarter after a scoreless third 15 minutes. With 5:23 to play, the Ben-JuJu connection scored for a second time, this time from eight yards away. Slayton caught a seven-yard score for his second TD with 1:52 left. That was it.

Roethlisberger ended up completing 21 of 32 passes for 229 yards and three scores. Benny Snell Jr. ran 19 times for 113 yards. Smith-Schuster caught six balls for 69 yards while Diontae Johnson netted six grabs as well.

Commentary in podcast episode form will be available at 5 a.m. Tuesday, September 15 wherever you get your podcasts. Those episodes of the pod will be our Steelers’ Postgame Podcasts and we will be releasing weekly previews Friday mornings as well of the next weekend’s game, both in podcast form and written form. We’ll have a ton of Steelers content coming your way during the season.

COMON Network Team Commentary

DONNY CHEDRICK

  • Edmunds is the weakest link by a mile. I thought the Steelers defense looked pretty damn good Monday night. Not only did they limit Saquon Barkley, but they almost held him to negative rushing yards. They were flying around all over the field. By no surprise though, Terrell Edmunds struggled in pretty much every facet. Maybe I don’t know football, but he did not look good. He looked like the worst guy on the defense, even with rookies playing their first game in the NFL. The signing of Sean Davis could provide a push or a solution.
  • Conner is “hurting” his chances of staying in Pittsburgh. Listen, we all know the story and what a true warrior James Conner is, but there comes a point when you can’t afford to keep a guy with his lack of durability around. Mike Tomlin can call him a bell cow all he wants, but he isn’t. That’s a back that you never see come off the field. Conner is a guy that can’t stay on it. Going to be hard for a lot of yinzers to say goodbye to James Conner after his time in high school then Pitt then the Steelers. Unfortunately, I don’t see a guy with his injury history being worth a dime.
  • About what I expected. I predicted 23-10. It was 26-16. Offense looked rusty early then got clicking. For Ben being shaky, he ended up having a better game than anyone who started at QB for the Steelers last season. Over 240 through the air, three touchdowns and no picks. I’ll take that every single week. The defense also looked dominant at times with three sacks and two interceptions, while holding Saquon to minimal numbers and chasing Daniel Jones all over the place. Let’s keep it up. 1-0.

Player of the Game – JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT)

KYLE DAWSON

  • Man is it good to see #7 back out there and slinging it for the Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t amazing tonight, but I never thought he needed to be. He was a bit wild early on as he settled in, but after that, he looked solid. He was flinging it to a bunch of different weapons. He made some big throws under some pressure. That performance was MUCH better than anything the Steelers got from Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges last year.
  • The play by Bud Dupree on the INT by Cam Heyward in the third quarter is the play of the game to me, and I’m not sure it’s close. He covered a ton of ground with speed and made a HUGE effort play on what was the 19th play of that methodical drive for the Giants. I thought the pick deflated the home team a bit. Add that play to two TFL and a bunch of pressure. I thought he played really well, as did Joe Haden and Devin Bush. I thought Vince Williams was excellent and TJ Watt had a pick. The defense looked like I expected it to, and don’t forget that unit bailing out Diontae Johnson after the muffed punt early. That’s another underrated drive, perhaps.
  • I said this on the Steelers Preview podcast the other day. I wasn’t going to be surprised if JuJu looked good again when he got Ben back. He’s been great with Ben. He’s a really good receiver. I won’t sit here and defend his off-the-field shenanigans when it comes to him not playing well on the field, but I don’t give a damn what he does if he’s not getting in trouble off the field if he is going to play like he did tonight consistently. He made a good play on the Snell fumble on the sideline and caught six balls and two scores.
  • Darius Slayton had a quiet great game for the Giants working against Steven Nelson for a good bit of the night. He had 102 yards on six catches and scored twice as well.
  • Benny Snell looked really good too. Give a lot of credit to the line getting better over the course of the game but give Snell credit too. We’ll see what the deal is with James Conner. I don’t have much more on that.
  • Overall, that’s a good win for the Steelers. It’s been a while since we’ve been pleased with Opening Night for the team looking for its seventh Super Bowl trophy.

Player of the Game – JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT)

JOE SMELTZER

  • There were multiple players deserving of a game ball tonight, but my first choice would be JuJu Smith-Schuster. He caught two touchdowns and helped create another with his blocking, made a key fumble recovery in third quarter, and put some icing on the cake by recovering an onside kick. Sure, JuJu’s off the field shenanigans can be obnoxious and sometimes are just strange, but all of that goes out the window if he walks the walk on the field. He walked the walk tonight. 
  • Benny Snell was another player who could have gotten the game ball. I’m not sure if Snell is the Steelers long term future at running back, but I’m almost certain James Conner will be a part of the past not too long from now. True, Conner is probably gone after this year regardless of how healthy he is, but he’s definitely gone if he isn’t. If Conner is hurt and has a capable replacement, his chances of leaving are greater than 100%. Conner is a wonderful story and an inspiration, but due to him not being able to stay healthy, I can’t say I’ll miss him too much when he departs. 
  • But I will miss Bud Dupree, another player likely to leave after this season. His stat line looks modest— just four tackles— but two of those were for a loss, and Dupree also added a quarterback hit. Dupree’s most important play of the night, however, was forcing Cam Heyward’s goal line interception, which was probably the biggest play of the game. Wherever he plays next year, Bud will get paid the big bucks. 

Player of the Game – JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT)

JACK HILLGROVE

  • They say to not beat a dead horse, but we’re gonna keep beating him. Big. Ben. Is. Back. Did he look rusty? Yes. Did it look like he hasn’t played a game in almost a full calendar year? Absolutely. But the job got done. He made good throws, and when the offense got some momentum built up after a couple of good plays, you could easily tell that the offense had a different buzz to it compared to the Duck/Rudolph days. You don’t need to know a lot about football to know that. Not a lot of points were scored, but enough were to keep the pressure off the defense, and that’s what they need to do. 
  • Bud Dupree is good at football. There is so much speed of that edge to where I don’t see why he can’t replicate his success from a year ago. Steelers fans, myself included, are going to miss him next year.
  • Diontae Johnson had a tough game, but that potential is still there. His ability to catch the ball needs to improve, but his separation game is as good as it gets. 

Player of the Game – Benny Snell Jr. (PIT)

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