GAME BALL goes to: RB Le'Veon Bell
Making his first appearance since tearing a ligament in his foot in the preseason, the rookie from Michigan State was very impressive, rushing for 57 yards on 16 carries with two touchdowns and also catching four passes for 27 yards in his NFL debut. His first touchdown showed why the Steelers drafted him in the second round, bouncing an inside play to the outside and going untouched around the right side. "The first couple times I got the ball, I wasn't comfortable," Bell said. "Once I got a couple hits, I got in the flow of the game and it started coming naturally."
THE COUNTDOWN A quick look at the top performances from Sunday's game:
1 ROUGH OUTING: It was difficult to tell who had a tougher day -- LT Mike Adams or CB Cortez Allen. After missing a tackle and getting beat inside on a 70-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown by Greg Jennings that made it 10-0, Allen got beat for another touchdown by Jennings, this one a 16-yarder, that made it 34-17. "I got to be better in tackling, I got to be better in coverage," said Allen, who missed the previous two games with an ankle injury. "I let my teammates down today."
2 BAD ENDING: On third down from the Vikings 6 with less than 19 seconds remaining and no timeouts, Ben Roethlisberger was sacked by Kevin Williams and fumbled, effectively ending the game. "I was trying to get rid of the ball," Roethlisberger said. "I didn't think I would have had enough time [to run another play]."
3 NOT ENOUGH: Jerricho Cotchery made two big plays, catching a 15-yard touchdown to make it 34-24 and going 27 yards on a catch-and-run to help set up Shaun Suisham's 28-yard field goal to make it 34-27. Cotchery had 103 yards on five catches.
4 AP TD: After another short punt by Zoltan Mesko, Peterson ran off the right side for a 60-yard touchdown, stepping out of a low tackle attempt by CB Ike Taylor and stiff-arming LB Lawrence Timmons. The touchdown gave the Vikings a 17-7 lead.
5 ANOTHER TURNOVER: Trailing, 27-17, Roethlisberger's first-down pass intended for Emmanuel Sanders was intercepted by LB Chad Greenway at the Steelers 37. Two plays later, the Vikings converted the turnover into Jennings' 16-yard TD catch.
"We are going to focus on getting better. That's what's going to change the outcome of these football games. Those that don't, aren't going to be part of us. I have great patience. We'll continue to work as long as I see belief and effort and continued improvement in detail. Those that don't, they won't be a part of it, whoever it may be; it's just that simple."
-- Mike Tomlin
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
5: That's the number of plays of 51 yards or longer the defense has allowed in the past three games. The Vikings had three of them -- a 70-yard catch-and-run touchdown by Jennings, a 60-yard TD run by Peterson and a 51-yard catch by WR Jerome Simpson.
WHAT WAS HE THINKING?
Coach Mike Tomlin said he was going to continue to rotate tackle Kelvin Beachum into the game, and the plan was to do it with Adams. But Beachum played only one series in the first half even though Adams allowed two sacks to Vikings DE Jared Allen and was penalized for holding him on another play. Adams allowed a third sack when he was knocked off his feet by Greenway in the third, but he was still in the game because Beachum had to play left guard for injured Ramon Foster (pectoral muscle). "I got to do a better job than I did," Adams said.
X's AND O's
What has happened to the Steelers defense? It has given up 94 points in the past three games and, worse, is allowing big plays at an alarming rate. Adrian Peterson's 60-yard TD was the second run of at least 55 yards against them in as many games. His 7-yard TD in the third quarter was also the sixth rushing score they have allowed this season -- one more than they allowed the entire 2010 season. In addition, the defense gave up pass plays of 70 and 51 yards, matching the number of completions of 40 yards or longer they allowed last season. "We have to find ways to put that fire out," said safety Ryan Clark.
The Steelers (0-4) have an off week and play the New York Jets (2-2) Oct. 13 at MetLife Stadium.
First Published September 30, 2013 4:00 AM