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What elbow problem? Roethlisberger quiets doubters in opener

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Time to stop talking about Ben Roethlisberger’s surgically repaired right elbow.

At least for now.

Whatever lingering doubts Roethlisberger or the rest of the Pittsburgh Steelers might have had over the state of their franchise quarterback’s passing arm were put to rest during a relatively drama-free 26-16 win over the New York Giants in the season opener on Monday night.

Playing for the first time in 364 days, the 38-year-old completed 21 of 32 passes for 229 yards and three touchdowns. And while he only truly let it loose a couple of times, he was efficient. He was patient. He was even a little spry, running for an 11-yard gain at one point.

While Roethlisberger wasn’t dominant, dominance wasn’t required. Not on a night where the defense produced three sacks and two turnovers while holding New York running back Saquon Barkley to just 6 yards rushing. For a team that expects to compete with Baltimore for the AFC North title, it was a promising start. Even if it was just a start.

“We said afterward it wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t even good some of the time offensively,” Roethlisberger said. “But at the end of the day we found a way to win.”

A win that came with plenty of what coach Mike Tomlin likes to call “meat on the bone,” meaning there is plenty to work on ahead of a visit by Denver on Sunday. That work, however, will not include any uncertainty about Roethlisberger’s status. He’s back. And so might be an offense that scored three touchdowns in a game just three times during his extended absence in 2019.

“Ben told us we can be great individuals,” wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster said, “But if we work all together and we’re good, we can be great as a team.”

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