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!
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.
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:
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.