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Roethlisberger leads Steelers over Cardinals

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Ben Roethlisberger threw for 340 yards and three touchdowns, including a 95-yard scoring strike to Mike Wallace, as the Steelers thumped the Arizona Cardinals 32-20 in Glendale on Sunday afternoon.

With Roethlisberger and Wallace leading the Steelers' offense, the stellar play of LaMarr Woodley paced the defense as the Steelers posted a 32-20 victory over the struggling Cardinals. The Steelers scored on their first drive of the game and never looked back.

Safety Ryan Clark intercepted Kevin Kolb’s second pass attempt of the game, a throw that bounced off the helmet of rookie tight end Rob Housler. Clark returned the pick for 10 yards before being tackled by Larry Fitzgerald at the Cardinals’ 31-yard line. Ben Roethlisberger completed his first pass of the game to Antonio Brown for a 16-yard gain, and after a few short runs by Rashard Mendenhall, Big Ben completed a 12-yard pass to Heath Miller for a Steelers touchdown, putting them up 7-0.

The next Steelers’ score came on the longest play in Roethlisberger’s career and in Steelers franchise history. Big Ben threw a long strike to Mike Wallace from the Steelers’ own 5-yard line and Wallace outraced the entire Cardinals' secondary to the end zone. The 95-yard touchdown reception put the Steelers up 14-0.

The Cardinals cut the lead in half, 14-7, on their next possession. A 13-play, 75-yard drive led by Kolb ended when running back Alfonso Smith scored on a one-yard run. Two Ike Taylor penalties, one for an illegal block and the other for defensive holding, played a key part in the Cardinals’ drive.

On the Steelers’ next drive, the Cardinals committed three penalties, two by rookie cornerback Patrick Peterson, and the Steelers ended up at the Cardinals’ 23-yard line. Shaun Suisham booted a 41-yard field goal to put the Steelers up 17-7 going into halftime.

After a Steelers’ punt on their first possession of the second half, Kevin Kolb connected with former Pitt star LaRod Stephens-Howling for a 73-yard touchdown to bring the Cardinals back into the game. Stephens-Howling caught the ball close to the line of scrimmage and with his speed, took off downfield and didn’t look back. The touchdown put the score at 17-14.

Big Ben led the Steelers on a 10-play, 64-yard drive on the next possession to put the Steelers up 24-14. Roethlisberger threw a short pass to Emmanuel Sanders from the Cardinals’ 4-yard line for the touchdown.

Stephens-Howling received the kick from Suisham following the touchdown and broke free for a 32-yard return, only to have it brought back to the Cardinals’ 7-yard line because of an offensive holding penalty. On the very first play of the drive, LaMarr Woodley broke through the offensive line and chased down Kolb in the end zone, forcing Kolb to try and throw the ball away. The ball never reached the line of scrimmage and was ruled as intentional grounding, resulting in a safety and making the score 26-14.

The next two Steelers’ drives took a lot of time off the clock, both resulting in field goals. The first drive of the fourth quarter, Suisham connected from 42 yards and put the Steelers up 29-14. After forcing a Cardinals’ punt, the Steelers drove down to the Cardinals’ 21-yard line and Suisham booted the 39-yard field goal through the up rights, making the score 32-14.

Kevin Kolb led the Cardinals’ next drive, 11 plays and 71 yards, capping it off with a 2-yard pass to wide receiver Early Doucet for the touchdown. The Cardinals attempted a two-point conversion but failed as Kolb couldn’t find an open receiver through the Steelers’ tight defensive coverage.

The Steelers pushed the ball up field in the last drive of the game for four first downs and ran out the clock with two kneel-downs by Roethlisberger.

Through the Air
Big Ben completed 25 of his 38 passes for 340 yards and three touchdowns. Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown played strong roles in the Steelers’ passing game. Wallace only had 3 catches but they covered 118 yards, including the 95-yard touchdown from Roethlisberger. Brown had 7 receptions for 102 yards.

On the Ground
The Steelers struggled running the football against the Cardinals’ defense. Rashard Mendenhall had only 13 carries for 32 yards and was held without a touchdown. Isaac Redman and Mewelde Moore each had six carries for 29 yards and 26 yards, respectively.

Defense
The Steelers gave up 330 yards and recorded their second interception of the year courtesy of Ryan Clark. Lamar Woodley was the defensive star of the game for the Steelers, racking up six solo tackles, 2 sacks and a safety.

Special Teams
Shaun Suisham was perfect on the day, connecting on all three field goal attempts from 41, 42 and 39 yards out; as well as hitting all three extra points. Antonio Brown had three kickoff returns for 66 yards and two punt returns for 47 yards.

Game Ball
Ben Roethlisberger decimated the Cardinals’ secondary, accumulating 340 yards and three touchdowns on 25 completions. He averaged 8.9 yards per attempt and notched a quarterback rating of 120.5.

Next Up
The Steelers face off against the New England Patriots (5-1) next Sunday. The game is set to start at 4:15 p.m. and will be broadcast on CBS.

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