(TSX / STATS) — PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers are getting the breaks when it comes to opposing quarterbacks this season.
A week after beating a rookie quarterback in the opener, the Steelers harassed Minnesota Vikings reserve quarterback Case Keenum in a 26-9 Pittsburgh win at Heinz Field.
Keenum got the call over Sam Bradford, who developed swelling in his knee during the week and was ruled out after a brief pregame workout.
The Steelers recorded only two sacks, but consistently pressured Keenum, the fifth-year veteran who completed 20 of 37 passes for 167 yards without an interception.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completed 23 of 35 passes for 243 yards and two touchdowns, both in the first half.
Roethlisberger threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Martavis Bryant to cap the Steelers’ second possession. The drive was aided by Vikings defensive end Bryan Robison, who jumped offside on fourth-and-1 from the Pittsburgh 31 during what appeared to be a bluff by Roethlisberger.
Bryant found separation from cornerback Terence Newman on the crossing pattern for the first-quarter score.
Roethlisberger then found JuJu Smith-Schuster for the rookie’s first career touchdown catch, a 4-yard shovel pass early in the second quarter for a touchdown and 14-0 Steelers lead.
The score was set up by a 49-yard pass interference call against Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes, who tackled Bryant at the Minnesota 12 on a second-and-22 bomb from Roethlisberger.
The Vikings answered with a 42-yard Kai Forbath field goal to cut the deficit to 14-3 by halftime.
The Vikings attempted a fake punt from their own side of the field early in the second half, but Tyler Matakevich broke up Ryan Quigley’s pass to Blake Bell, and Chris Boswell kicked a 46-yard field goal for a 17-3 Steelers lead.
Dalvin Cook, who had been held to 3 yards on six first-half carries, put the Vikings back in the game with a 25-yard run to the Pittsburgh 1, from where fullback C.J. Ham scored. A missed extra point by Forbath kept the Vikings behind by 17-9.
The Steelers stretched the lead to 20-9 on a 29-yard field goal by Boswell with 5:05 left in the third quarter. It was set up by a 51-yard catch by Bryant, who finished with three catches for 91 yards.
Boswell kicked a 37-yard field goal with 3:18 left and a 43-yarder with 1:53 left to cement the win for the Steelers (2-0).
Roethlisberger finished with a passer rating was 104.8.
Le’Veon Bell led all rushers with 87 yards on 27 carries.
NOTES: The Steelers honored the memory of Dan Rooney prior to the game. Roethlisberger ran to midfield with a flag to cap player introductions. The former owner passed away April 13 at the age of 84. … With TE Vance McDonald inactive, OT Chris Hubbard started at tight end for the Steelers in a jumbo package, and later played both tackle positions in relief. … The start by QB Case Keenum was the 25th of his five-year career, but first with the Vikings. … WR Martavis Bryant’s touchdown was his first since Jan. 9, 2016, in a playoff game against Cincinnati. … Steelers rookie OLB T.J. Watt left in the second quarter with a groin injury. … The touchdown run by RB C.J. Ham came on his first career carry. … DE Everson Griffen had both of the Vikings’ sacks.