The Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings met at Heinz Field in Week 2 NFL action, and it was the first game at Heinz Field in the 2017 regular season. Although news fluctuated from the Steelers’ honoring Mr. Dan Rooney before the game or the team’s inactive list, the biggest news came from the opponents.
Sam Bradford, who played extremely well in the team’s Week 1 win against the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football, was listed as OUT for the game due to a knee injury. With Bradford out, Case Keenum was now in charge of the Minnesota offense, but he would have to wait to steer the Minnesota ship as Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense took the field to start the game.
After a three-and-out by Pittsburgh, the Vikings were unable to muster a drive of their own as both punters got early work in the game. On Pittsburgh’s second drive they attacked the Vikings from all areas. After a 41-yard defensive pass interference call on Xavier Rhodes on Antonio Brown, it set up a Ben Roethlisberger strike to Martavis Bryant for a 27-yard touchdown. Chris Boswell tacked on the extra point to make it 7-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The Steelers had the football to start the second quarter, and despite a holding call and a sack, Roethlisberger attacked the Minnesota secondary again. The victim this time was Trae Waynes as he was called for a defensive pass interference penalty against Martavis Bryant.
Two plays later the Steelers cashed in on a shovel pass from Roethlisberger to JuJu Smith-Schuster, who scored on his first NFL reception, to make the score 14-0, after the Bowell point-after.
Case Keenum slowly got himself acclimated to starting the game, and was able to put together a drive which put Minneosta in Pittsburgh territory for the first time. However, the drive stalled, and the Vikings settled for a Kai Forbath field goal to cut into the Pittsburgh lead 14-3, which stood as both teams headed into the locker room for halftime.
The Vikings started the second half with the football, but after a three-and-out the Minnesota coaching staff decided to go for a fake punt. Tyler Matakevich sniffed out the play and broke up the pass. The Steelers translated this decision into a Chris Boswell 46-yard field goal to extend the Pittsburgh lead 17-3.
Keenum would answer with a drive of his own, and it was an exceptional catch by Stefon Diggs and a quality run by Dalvin Cook which set up the Vikings’ first touchdown of the day. However, after CJ Ham’s run, Kai Forbath missed the point-after, which made the score 17-9.
Roethlisberger answered Keenum’s drive with one of his own, and it was aided by a 51-yard completion to Martavis Bryant on a defensive offsides play, but the drive stalled in the red-zone and had to settle for a Chris Boswell field goal, making the score 20-9, their first failed red-zone attempt of the 2017 season.
The story of the fourth quarter was the Pittsburgh defense as they continued to harass Keenum, and give the ball back to the offense. Roethlisberger orchestrated the offense to more points, this time via another Boswell field goal to extend the lead 23-9, which was followed by another Boswell 37-yard field goal to make the score 26-9, would be the final score of the contest.
The Vikings made the game much closer than the final score would indicate, but the Pittsburgh offense, combined with a stout Steelers defense, was just too much for a Case Keenum-led offense. Kudos to the Vikings defense, a very good unit, but just not enough to best the Steelers at Heinz Field.
The Steelers victory moves their record to 2-0, and the now turn their focus onto another NFC opponent when they travel to Chicago to play the Bears in Week 3 action. Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news on injuries, updates and commentary on all things Steelers.