The Pittsburgh Steelers scored their first touchdown of 2020 in the second quarter of Monday night’s game against the New York Giants, a 10-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.
That was followed by the first touchdown celebration of the season, with Smith-Schuster incorporating second-year receiver Diontae Johnson and tight end Eric Ebron.
Chase Claypool’s First NFL Catch
The first half also saw the first career catch by wide receiver Chase Claypool, and it’s safe to say the rookie demonstrated remarkable body control for such a big man.
James Washington Gives the Steelers a Halftime Lead
Finally, third-year wide receiver James Washington gave the Steelers a 16-10 halftime lead, forcing his way into the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown.
As for the key halftime stats, Ben Roethlisberger completed 12 of 21 passes for 145 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones was 9 of 16 for 151 yards with one touchdown and one interception, the latter a brilliant bit of anticipation from Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt.
Pittsburgh’s leading rusher in the first half was Benny Snell Jr. with nine carries for 45 yards. JuJu Smith-Schuster was the Steelers’ leading receiver, with four catches for 52 yards and the above-referenced touchdown reception.
The Steelers won the time of possession batte, possessing the ball for 18 minutes and 54 seconds.
Pittsburgh’s defense completely neutralized New York’s star running back Saquon Barkley in the first half; the Giants posted a negative yardage total in the first half.
There were a number of significant breakdowns on the part of the Steelers during the first 30 minutes. Most notably, punt returner Diontae Johnson muffed the first punt of the season, which led to a Giants field goal and a 3-0 lead for New York.
Steelers placekicker Chris Boswell also missed an extra point, which prevented Pittsburgh from tying the game at 10-10.
Finally, a questionable pass interference call against Steelers cornerback Joe Haden kept a New York drive alive in the second quarter. Giants quarterback Daniel Jones connected with receiver Darius Slayton for a 41-yard TD pass on the very next play, beating cornerback Steven Nelson and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Prior to the game the Steelers stood together in a line and held up a ‘Steelers Against Racism’ banner. On Monday morning the organization announced that all players will wear decals on their helmets this season–decals that honor the memory of Antwon Rose Jr., a 17-year-old boy who was shot and killed by East Pittsburgh Police in June 2018.
The arrival of the regular season opener means that the Steelers will not be extending the contracts of any veteran players until 2021. The Steelers signed defensive end Cameron Heyward to a four-year contract extension a little more than a week ago.
Pittsburgh’s home opener will take place at Heinz Field next Sunday afternoon against the Denver Broncos.
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