Steelers vs. Giants final score: Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh defense step up to roll over New York

The Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants went back and forth in the first of two "Monday Night Football" games in Week 1, and while Big Blue hung in there for a while, with Daniel Jones starting sharp against Pittsburgh's "D" and Ben Roethlisberger opening out of sync, the favored AFC foes ultimately came out on top, riding two crucial takeaways to a 26-16 victory. Joe Judge's team certainly looked ready to play a football game, but aside from some big plays from Darius Slayton and James Bradberry, the G-Men couldn't sustain success on either side of the ball as the night wore on, with Big Ben and Co. cruising their way to a big season-opening win.

Here are some of our big takeaways from Monday night's affair:

Why the Steelers won

You have to start with the defense. Everyone expected Pittsburgh to clamp down on Daniel Jones, and they did when it mattered most, forcing the second-year QB into some costly blunders thanks to persistent pressure up front. Bud Dupree, in particular, was a force to be reckoned with. No one could've predicted how much they got after Saquon Barkley, either; the star Giants RB had absolutely nowhere to go out of the backfield from start to finish. Offensively, Pittsburgh got better as the game went on, with Ben Roethlisberger settling in to find pretty much every one of his WRs for a big gain and Benny Snell quietly reeling off 100 yards as a complement -- and then a replacement -- for James Conner. It wasn't pretty, especially early on, but by the finish, the Steelers looked like more of a well-oiled machine.

Why the Giants lost

It's unfortunate we have to pin so much of the blame for the Giants' defeat on Daniel Jones, because in reality, Danny Dimes was throwing dimes for good chunks of play -- all the more impressive against the Steelers defense. In fact, at one point, Jones commanded a whopping 19-play drive that threatened to wipe out Pittsburgh's second-half lead. Still, his two interceptions were back-breakers, especially the second, which came at the close of that long drive and cancelled any chance for late-game points. You can pick on New York's banged-up and undermanned secondary, too, if you feel like it (the Steelers essentially ran up the score at will by the fourth quarter), even though James Bradberry flashed play-making ability, but the offense's sputtering was probably responsible for more of Pittsburgh's surge.

Turning point

Just over three minutes left in the third quarter. Giants down six. New York had driven all the way from their own nine-yard line to Pittsburgh's four. Then came Jones' worst play of the day, a roll-out to the left and an ill-advised heave back the other way -- into at least double coverage with Bud Dupree right in his face, resulting in a Steelers pick and a sour end to an otherwise beautiful drive. The turnover sealed Pittsburgh's lead and completely turned the tides.

Play of the game

James Washington didn't lead the Steelers in receiving, but he led the team in effort on his TD catch right before halftime:

What's next

The Steelers (1-0) will go home for Week 2, when they play host to the Denver Broncos, who also opened the year on Monday night. The Giants (0-1), meanwhile, will hit the road for a matchup with the Chicago Bears (0-1), who came back to defeat the Detroit Lions in their season opener.

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MON 7:10 P
NYG +6, o44
ESPN
NYG 6, O/U 44

Season Leaders

passing
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B. Roethlisberger 1446 YD, 13 TDS, 4 INTS
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B. Roethlisberger 1446 YD, 13 TDS, 4 INTS
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D. Jones 1410 YD, 5 TDS, 7 INTS
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D. Jones 1410 YD, 5 TDS, 7 INTS
rushing
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J. Conner 95 ATT, 451 YD, 4 TDS
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J. Conner 95 ATT, 451 YD, 4 TDS
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D. Jones 31 ATT, 296 YD
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D. Jones 31 ATT, 296 YD
receiving
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C. Claypool 18 REC, 333 YD, 4 TDS
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C. Claypool 18 REC, 333 YD, 4 TDS
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D. Slayton 27 REC, 429 YD, 3 TDS
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D. Slayton 27 REC, 429 YD, 3 TDS
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Tomlin waited for Ben to finish his interview so he could walk off the field with him, and that's how we'll end our coverage of this game. Thank you for joining us, and make sure to follow us as we turn our attention to tonight's other game between the Titans and Broncos. Thanks, goodnight!

September 15, 2020, 2:10 AM

On rhythm of the offense: "Getting the ball to playmakers [like JuJu]."

September 15, 2020, 2:08 AM

Ben on being nervous: "I just can't thank enough people. I don't have enough time ... "

September 15, 2020, 2:08 AM

With the win, Steelers tie the 49ers with 49 wins on MNF. Pitt beats the NYG, 26-16. We'll have Ben's first quote here in a second.

September 15, 2020, 2:06 AM

Steelers run an end-around to Claypool on fourth and one to seal it. That's fitting; that's a direct reflection of Matt Canada joining the staff.

September 15, 2020, 2:05 AM

If I had to guess, Steelers giving game balls to Snell, Ben, JuJu, Dupree, and possibly Heyward for the pick. Win has to feel good for Roethlisberger, who shook off the rust relatively quickly. Has a lot of weapons on this offense, so it should be fun to watch the longer the season goes.

September 15, 2020, 2:04 AM

Steelers just running the clock out down. Going to punt with about 50 seconds left. Up 26-16.

September 15, 2020, 2:03 AM

Conner's status will be something to keep an eye on in the postgame, but so is the status of Banner:

September 15, 2020, 2:02 AM

JuJu recovers the fumble. Add that to the list of good things he's done tonight.

September 15, 2020, 2:00 AM

Jones with 279 yards so far, but Heyward's pick is looming large. It came at the end of a 19-play drive and led to three Steelers points.

September 15, 2020, 1:58 AM
@steelers via Twitter
September 15, 2020, 1:57 AM

Slayton pulls down a touchdown from Jones, beats Nelson, who hasn't been great tonight. Haden breaks up the two-point conversion, which would have made it a one-possession game.

September 15, 2020, 1:57 AM

So Steelers defense has been good, but Giants were 7-of-14 on third down before that incompletion by Jones. Something to work on for next week.

September 15, 2020, 1:54 AM

Steelers won't be happy if they give up a late score. Giving up late scores hurt them in 2018 and it's something they really focused on last year. Barkley making some nice plays late in this one.

September 15, 2020, 1:51 AM
@steelers via Twitter
September 15, 2020, 1:49 AM

Roethlisberger sacked twice, Steelers will likely take that. Has thrown for 229 yards and three touchdowns so far. Snell is the main story IMO, with 104 yards on 16 carries. Steelers defense as good as advertised.

September 15, 2020, 1:48 AM

So 17-12 didn't happen. Steelers played better than I thought they would in the second half.

September 15, 2020, 1:47 AM

Zach Banner is in tears on the sideline. Not good a sign.

September 15, 2020, 1:45 AM

Will tonight be remembered as the Benny Snell coming out party? 70 yards rushing now.

September 15, 2020, 1:35 AM

10 times now.

September 15, 2020, 1:33 AM

I know they messed up a play last drive, but it really does seem like Roethlisberger and Johnson have a nice rapport. Now has five catches for 46 yards. Has been targeted a team-high nine times!

September 15, 2020, 1:32 AM
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