Oct 17, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) is pressured by Seattle Seahawks defensive end Rasheem Green (94) during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers hold off Seahawks in overtime

Chris Boswell kicked a 37-yard field goal with 2:50 remaining in overtime as the host Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Russell Wilson-less Seattle Seahawks 23-20 Sunday night.

The field goal was set up by T.J. Watt’s strip sack of Geno Smith, with Devin Bush recovering the ball at Seattle’s 16-yard line.

Seattle sent the game to overtime on Jason Myers’ 43-yard field goal as time expired.

The Seahawks almost didn’t get a chance to kick the tying field goal. With 18 seconds left, DK Metcalf caught a 12-yard pass along the sidelines. Instead of stepping out of bounds, he tried to turn up field and fumbled. Teammate Freddie Swain recovered and, after the officials reviewed the pass completion, Smith spiked the ball with two seconds left to stop the clock.

Ben Roethlisberger completed 29 of 40 passes for 229 yards and a touchdown for the Steelers (3-3) and Najee Harris rushed for 81 yards on 24 carries and made six receptions for 46 yards and a score.

Smith, filling in for the injured Wilson, was 23 of 32 for 209 yards and a touchdown. Alex Collins rushed 20 times for 101 yards and a score for the Seahawks (2-4).

Seattle defensive end Darrell Taylor was carted off the field after suffering an apparent neck injury while trying to tackle Harris on a run up the middle with 3:10 remaining in regulation. Taylor was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital, but NBC reported he had movement in his extremities.

Trailing 14-0, the Seahawks opened the second half with a 10-play touchdown drive, with Collins scoring on a 2-yard run. Collins rushed eight times for 58 yards in the series.

The Steelers responded with a 27-yard field goal by Boswell to make it 17-7.

The Seahawks scored again on their next drive, with Smith throwing a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Will Dissly.

Seattle’s offense stalled on the next possession, but Myers kicked a 40-yard field goal to tie it at 17-all with 12:59 remaining.

The Steelers took a 14-0 halftime lead. Harris opened the scoring on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger with 10:01 remaining in the second quarter. Tight end Eric Ebron scored on a 1-yard run with 1:04 left.

–Field Level Media

Oct 10, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Steelers team orthopedic doctor James Bradley (left) looks at the right arm of Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (19) after Smith-Schuster suffered an apparent injury against the Denver Broncos during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Smith-Schuster  would leave the game. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers put WR JuJu Smith-Schuster on IR

The Pittsburgh Steelers officially placed wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster on injured reserve Saturday.

The veteran receiver injured his right shoulder against the Denver Broncos last week, an injury for which he underwent surgery earlier this week. It’s expected that Smith-Schuster will be lost for the rest of the season.

For the season, Smith-Schuster, 24, has 15 receptions for 129 yards and no touchdowns in five games.

A second-round pick in 2017 and a Pro Bowl selection in 2018, Smith-Schuster has 323 career catches for 3,855 yards and 26 touchdowns in 63 games.

–Field Level Media

Oct 7, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (7) scrambles beyond the grasp of Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman Mike Hoecht (96) during the fourth quarter at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Seahawks prepare to face Steelers without Russell Wilson

Trivia question: Who was the last quarterback to start a regular-season game for the Seattle Seahawks other than Russell Wilson?

The answer would be Tarvaris Jackson in the final game of the 2011 season.

Wilson’s ironman streak likely will end Sunday, though, when the Seahawks (2-3) visit the Pittsburgh Steelers (2-3).

Wilson underwent surgery Oct. 8 on his right middle finger because of an injury sustained the previous night in a 26-17 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Wilson, who had started all 165 games — regular season and playoffs — since arriving as a rookie in 2012, suffered a ruptured tendon in what is often referred to as mallet finger and a fracture/dislocation of the joint at the top of the finger.

With Wilson almost certain to miss the Steelers game, Geno Smith will make his first start since 2017.

Smith has been getting instruction from Wilson on the practice field this week.

“(Wilson) knows his job is to help Geno and get him ready,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said.

Smith played the fourth quarter against the Rams, completing 10 of 17 passes for 131 yards and a touchdown while leading two scoring drives. He threw a late interception after his intended target, Tyler Lockett, ran into a defender and fell down.

“Everybody believes that (Smith is) going to come through and do a great job, just like he showed the other night,” Carroll said. “So we need to support him and give him the help he needs by playing good ball around him and coaching real well around him and be really excited to see what the outcome is.

“I think there’s a lot of things that change in a young guy’s mind when he gets this opportunity, but (Smith has) been there a lot. It’s just been awhile. … He loves the fact that he’s got this chance to help his team. That’s why he’s been here. He’s been here for this opportunity when it does arise.”

Seahawks running back Chris Carson (neck), who sat out last week’s game, has missed practice time this week, but Carroll said he was encouraged by Carson’s progress. Linebacker Bobby Wagner (knee) and guard Damien Lewis (illness) also have sat out practice.

The Steelers snapped a three-game skid with a 27-19 victory against the Denver Broncos last week. Rookie Najee Harris rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries and Ben Roethlisberger completed 15 of 25 passes for 253 yards and two TDs.

It was a costly victory, however, as wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster sustained a dislocated shoulder and underwent season-ending surgery Wednesday.

“You can’t replace JuJu,” Roethlisberger said.

Chase Claypool helped pick up the slack vs. the Broncos with five catches for 130 yards and a touchdown.

“Everybody (in the wide receivers room) is capable of playing and contributing to the offense, so we are not worried about that,” Steelers receiver Diontae Johnson said. “We are still going to go out there and play for JuJu.”

Steelers linebacker Devin Bush, who left last Sunday’s game with a groin injury, was back as a full participant in practice this week, as was defensive back Cam Sutton (groin), who didn’t face Denver. Claypool (hamstring) and fellow receiver James Washington (groin) were limited on Wednesday.

–Field Level Media

Sep 19, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Former Pittsburgh Steelers player Rocky Bleier waves his Terrible Towell before the game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Steelers fan spreads ashes at Heinz Field without permission

Teams visiting Heinz Field may have more to worry about than terrible towels.

According to reporting from WTAE in Pittsburgh, a Steelers fan dumped the ashes of a deceased family member in the south end zone of the field.

A Steelers spokesperson wanted to make it known that the fan in question did not have permission to do so, nor do the Steelers ever accommodate similar requests.

“Heinz Field Management does not permit or condone such actions,” a statement from the team read. “While we respect those fans who may be interested in honoring a family member by spreading their family’s ashes inside the stadium, Heinz Field cannot accommodate those requests due to state and local regulations.”

At least one fan complained to the network that the remains blew onto him and into people’s food.

“There is no hazard with them,” Bob Neely, an area funeral director said. “It’s been heated up to a point where there is no disease left, there is nothing there you just have fine particles … but you have a fairly good amount that can come out of an urn.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 10, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Steelers team orthopedic doctor James Bradley (left) looks at the right arm of Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (19) after Smith-Schuster suffered an apparent injury against the Denver Broncos during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Smith-Schuster  would leave the game. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Report: JuJu Smith-Schuster (shoulder) feared lost for season

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is expected to land on injured reserve and could miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Monday.

Smith-Schuster was taken to the hospital for evaluation after Sunday’s win against the visiting Denver Broncos.

On the first play of a Pittsburgh drive in the second quarter, Smith-Schuster rushed around the left end for 3 yards before being tackled by Broncos safety Kareem Jackson.

Jackson’s helmet struck Smith-Schuster’s right arm and the fifth-year wideout appeared to be in serious pain as he was helped to the locker room.

Smith-Schuster, 24, finished with two carries for 6 yards and zero catches on one target. For the season, he has 15 receptions for 129 yards and no touchdowns in five games.

A second-round pick in 2017 and a Pro Bowl selection in 2018, Smith-Schuster has 323 career catches for 3,855 yards and 26 touchdowns in 63 games.

–Field Level Media

Oct 10, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris (22) runs the ball against the Denver Broncos during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Balanced attack pushes Steelers past Broncos

Ben Roethlisberger passed for 253 yards and two touchdowns, Najee Harris rushed for 122 yards and a score and the host Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Denver Broncos 27-19 on Sunday.

Chase Claypool had five catches for 130 yards and a touchdown and Diontae Johnson had 72 yards receiving and a TD for the Steelers (2-3). Harris rushed 23 times and Roethlisberger completed 15 of 25 passes.

Teddy Bridgewater was 24-of-38 passing for 288 yards and two touchdowns and Courtland Sutton had seven receptions for 120 yards and a score for Denver (3-2).

The Broncos trailed by 18 entering the fourth but nearly rallied. Denver drove to the Pittsburgh 3 with 22 seconds left but Bridgewater was intercepted on fourth down.

The Steelers took the opening drive of the game 85 yards in six plays, capped by Roethlisberger’s 50-yard pass to Johnson that made it 7-0.

Pittsburgh was driving again late in the first when the Broncos recovered a fumble near midfield. Denver managed just 8 yards but cashed in on a 39-yard Brandon McManus field goal.

The Steelers answered with a 48-yard field goal by Chris Boswell early in the second quarter, and after the teams traded punts McManus finished a seven-play drive with a 29-yard field goal to make it 10-6.

Pittsburgh drove down to the Broncos’ goal line, which was helped by a pass interference call on Denver. Harris scored on a leap from the 1-yard line that put the Steelers ahead 17-6 at halftime.

Pittsburgh kicked a field goal on its first drive of the third quarter, but a Broncos penalty kept the drive alive, and Roethlisberger connected with Claypool from 18 yards out to make it 24-6.

Denver finally got its offense going in the fourth quarter. The Broncos converted two fourth downs, the second one on Bridgewater’s 2-yard TD pass to Kendall Hinton to cut the deficit to 24-13 with 10:15 left.

After forcing a punt, Denver drove again, with Bridgewater firing a 39-yard touchdown pass to Sutton. The two-point conversion failed, leaving the Steelers up 24-19.

Pittsburgh answered with a 43-yard field goal by Boswell to make it an eight-point game.

–Field Level Media

Sep 19, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is greeted by his teammates as they take the field to play the Las Vegas Raiders  at Heinz Field. The Raiders won the game 26-17. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster leaves with shoulder injury

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster was ruled out for the second half of Sunday’s game against Denver due to a shoulder injury.

On the first play of a Pittsburgh drive with 5:47 left in the second quarter, Smith-Schuster rushed around the left end for 3 yards before being tackled by Broncos safety Kareem Jackson.

Jackson’s helmet struck Smith-Schuster’s right arm and the fifth-year wideout appeared to be in serious pain as he was helped to the locker room.

Smith-Schuster, 24, finished with two carries for 6 yards and zero catches on one target. For the season, he has 15 receptions for 129 yards and no touchdowns in five games.

A second-round pick in 2017 and a Pro Bowl selection in 2018, Smith-Schuster has 323 career catches for 3,855 yards and 26 touchdowns in 63 games.

–Field Level Media

Sep 20, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Denver Broncos defensive end Shelby Harris (96) defend a pass by Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 26-21. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Key questions nag Steelers, Broncos in AFC clash

The Pittsburgh Steelers were expected by many to be mediocre this season, but after opening 2021 with an upset of Buffalo it looked like those predictions were off.

Then came the next three games, and the once proud franchise is looking at one of its toughest years in decades.

Pittsburgh (1-3) has managed just one win or fewer after four games three times in the past nine seasons but always rebounded to finish even or better by the end. But with an aging quarterback and struggling offense, this might be the team’s first losing season since going 6-10 in 2003.

The Steelers have a chance to stop the losing streak when they host the Denver Broncos on Sunday afternoon.

Pittsburgh has been dealing with several injuries, including a groin injury to star linebacker T.J. Watt that has kept him sidelined for the loss against Cincinnati on Sept. 26. After the most recent loss, 27-17 at Green Bay, guard Kevin Dotson (hip flexor) and cornerback Cam Sutton (groin) could miss the game against Denver.

Add to that list wide receiver Chase Claypool, and the Steelers are a hurting group. Still, coach Mike Tomlin isn’t about to make drastic changes like benching quarterback Ben Roethlisberger despite his poor QB rating and Pittsburgh’s inconsistent passing game.

“It’s him some, it’s us collectively some,” Tomlin said Tuesday. “We’ve just got to keep working. Sometimes it can be attributed to the altering of plans late in the week because of player availability or guys not being available.”

Sutton, Dotson and Roethlisberger (pectoral/hip) didn’t practice Wednesday, nor did defensive tackle Carlos Davis (knee). Claypool and fellow receiver Juju Smith-Schuster (ribs) limited.

The Broncos (3-1) returned to reality in their 23-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens last week. Denver beat up on bad teams to start the season and the Ravens were its first real test. Things might have gone differently if quarterback Teddy Bridgewater had not been knocked out of the second half of that game.

Bridgewater was sidelined after taking a hit to the helmet and entered the concussion protocol. He didn’t practice but was lifting and attending meetings. Asked Wednesday if Bridgewater might play against the Steelers coach Vic Fangio said, “Yeah, it’s possible.”

Just as big of a concern is the loss of rookie cornerback Patrick Surtain II. He also left Sunday’s game with a chest injury, as did receiver Diontae Spencer, who was injured on the play before Bridgewater was hurt. Fangio said Surtain and Spencer are day-to-day.

The Broncos sorely missed two offensive linemen — Graham Glasgow (knee) and Dalton Risner (ankle) — against Baltimore, which was a factor in the poor protection for Bridgewater and backup Drew Lock. The Ravens had five sacks, three in the second half against Lock.

Fangio said Risner was close to playing against Baltimore and is a candidate to return this week, as is Glasgow. Both were limited in practiced Wednesday. Running back Melvin Gordon III sat out practice with a lower leg injury but Fangio said he expects him to play Sunday.

Denver is trying to quickly bounce back from its first loss, and safety Justin Simmons stressed the team is ready for redemption.

“We have no choice. We have to respond to this game on Sunday,” he said.

–Field Level Media

Jul 22, 2021; Pittsburgh, PA, United States;  Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7 ) talks with head coach Mike Tomlin (right) during training camp at the Rooney UPMC Sports Performance Complex. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Tomlin: Ben Roethlisberger is best QB for Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin came to the defense of struggling quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on Tuesday.

When asked if the 39-year-old Roethlisberger is the best quarterback for the offense, Tomlin was quick with a response.

“Absolutely. What he does and what he’s done makes me really comfortable in saying that,” Tomlin said.

Tomlin also noted that Roethlisberger “has some hip issues” following Pittsburgh’s 27-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. The six-time Pro Bowl quarterback also sustained a left pectoral injury following a 26-17 setback to the Las Vegas Raiders on Sept. 19.

Roethlisberger has thrown for 1,033 yards with four touchdowns and four interceptions in four games for the Steelers (1-3), who have mustered just five offensive scores this season.

“It’s him some, it’s us collectively some,” Tomlin said. “We’re not looking to make excuses. We’ve had some big-play opportunities, we haven’t cashed in on them, and we need to cash in on them. They’re a big component to moving the ball and scoring, particularly when you’re not working as efficiently as you’d like on possession downs, which we aren’t. Chunk plays eliminate a lot of execution.”

Roethlisberger is playing in his 18th season in the NFL after signing a restructured contract that included a pay cut over the offseason. He’s spent the entirety of his pro career in Pittsburgh and won two Super Bowls with the Steelers.

Mason Rudolph and former first-round pick Dwayne Haskins are Tomlin’s other options at quarterback.

Rudolph, 26, has thrown for 2,089 yards with 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 15 career games with the Steelers. He was selected by Pittsburgh in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

Haskins, a 2019 first-round pick of the Washington Football Team out of Ohio State, was released last year in his second season with the team due to a combination of poor performance and a lack of professionalism.

Haskins, 24, signed a one-year deal with the Steelers in January.

He has completed 60.1 percent (267 of 444) of his passes for 2,804 yards with 12 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 16 career games (13 starts).

–Field Level Media

Oct 3, 2021; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Packers lean on Aaron Rodgers, Randall Cobb connection in win over Steelers

Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb connected on two touchdown passes Sunday while the Green Bay Packers’ defense contained the Pittsburgh Steelers after the game’s first possession to earn a 27-17 win in Green Bay.

Rodgers was 20 of 36 for 248 yards as the Packers (3-1) won their third straight game and maintained their one-game lead in the NFC North. Rodgers’ second scoring strike was the 420th of his career, tying Dan Marino for sixth in NFL history.

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh (1-3) dropped its third straight game and sank further into the AFC North cellar despite two milestones from Ben Roethlisberger. He completed 26 of 40 for 232 yards and the 400th touchdown pass of his career, making him the eighth man in league history to accomplish the feat. He also passed Marino for sixth place in NFL history in passing yards.

But after Roethlisberger found Diontae Johnson for a 45-yard score less than five minutes into the game, the Steelers mostly sputtered. After a 52-yard field goal by Chris Boswell with 5:46 left in the first half, their only score for the game’s remainder was Najee Harris’ 1-yard plunge with 4:04 left in the game.

By that time, Green Bay was in control. Rodgers had a hand in consecutive second quarter touchdowns, running 4 yards for the tying score less than two minutes into the period and then hitting Cobb with a 23-yard touchdown. That happened four plays after Roethlisberger was strip-sacked with Kenny Clark recovering at the Pittsburgh 23.

Mason Crosby converted a 26-yard field goal with eight seconds left in the half to make it 17-10 Packers at intermission. The kick came a play after an offsides penalty on the Steelers wiped out Minkah Fitzpatrick’s return of a blocked field goal for a go-ahead touchdown.

Crosby hit a 29-yard field goal at the 9:35 mark of the third quarter for a 20-10 advantage, and Cobb caught a 1-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers with 4:46 remaining for an insurmountable 17-point cushion.

–Field Level Media