The Steelers knocked of the Arizona Cardinals 32-20 today on the road to move to 5-2 on the season.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was 26 of 39 passing for 361 yards and 3 touchdowns to Mike Wallace, Heath Miller and Emmanuel Sanders. Roethlisberger was sacked twice during the game, but did a great job of spreading the ball around to several different receivers including the running backs. The running game produced 91 yards on 28 carries.
Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb was 18 of 34 passing for 272 yards and was sacked twice by outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley. Woodley also forced a safety on an intentional grounding in the endzone. Woodley also led the team with 7 combined tackles.
The Steelers defense got the game off to a great start as linebacker James Farrior tipped a Kolb pass that ended up being intercepted by free safety Ryan Clark. The Steelers offense took over at the Cardinal 31 yard-line and 5 plays late Roethlisberger hit Miller for a 12 yard touchdown to take a 7-0 lead.
The second Steelers score did not happen until 8:21 left in the first half as Roethlisberger hit Wallace for a 95 yard touchdown down the right side on the first play of the drive.
The Cardinals answered with 13 play, 80 yard drive of their own that culminated with a 1 yard run by Cardinals running back Alfonso Smith. The drive was aided by two 3rd down penalties by Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor.
The Cardinals returned the favor on the Steelers next drive as rookie cornerback Patrick Peterson was flagged twice on the drive and the offense finally had to settle for a Shaun Suisham 41 yard field goal to end the half.
The Cardinals opened up the scoring in the second half as running back LaRod Stephens-Howling took a short pass down the right side for a 73 yard touchdown.
The Steelers again answered with an 11 play, 80 yard drive on their own that featured 8 passes by Roethlisberger and 2 key 3rd down conversions. The drive ended with a 4 yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger to Sanders in the back of the endzone.
Following the kick-off, Woodley forced Kolb into the safety on the Cardinals first play from their own 7 yard line as Woodley came untouched off the edge.
The Steelers added two more Suisham field goals on the way to closing out the Cardinals.
Cardinals running back Beanie Wells sprained a knee and did not return in the second half and the Steelers defense held the Cardinals to just 73 yards rushing on 19 carries. 14 of which came on 2 scrambles by Kolb. Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was held to just 4 catches for 78 yards. He was targeted 10 times on the afternoon.
Although he did not score, Antonio Brown had a huge game as he hauled in 7 catches for 102 yards. He also produced 113 yards in the return game after returning 2 punts for 47 yards and 3 kick-offs for 66 yards.
Steve McLendon made his first career start at nose tackle with both Casey Hampton and Chris Hoke sidelined with injuries and had a solid performance. He finished with 5 total tackles and was second on the team behind Woodley. Farrior also had two tipped balls on the day and Lawrence Timmons had a much better game this week at right outside linebacker in place of James Harrison, who sat out his 3rd straight game with his eye injury.
After the game, head coach Mike Tomlin only noted Hines Ward as the only player injured today. Ward suffered an ankle injury and did not return. Tomlin says they will monitor him closely and said he is saving him a seat on the bus next week against the Patriots. Tomlin also said Aaron Smith will need surgery on his neck and that was the reason he was placed on injured reserve Saturday.
The Steelers now go back home to host the Patriots and Ravens.
I will more complete observations after going through the game again.