Steelers home opener preview: Conner, Snell to split carries against Denver

Steelers home opener preview: Conner, Snell to split carries against Denver
(Al Bello/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH — UPDATE: The Steelers have defeated the Denver Broncos 26-21, going 2-0 for the first time since 2017.

The first one is now out of the way, and now the Steelers will play their home opener today against the Broncos.

It’s certainly not what Ben Roethlisberger envisioned when he was rehabbing his way back from having three torn flexor tendons in his throwing elbow suffered last Sept. 15 in the 2019 home opener against the Seahawks.

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“When I got hurt and knowing I was going to come back, one of those things I was most excited about was running out of the tunnel at Heinz Field in front of our fans,” Roethlisberger said. “To not have that this time is going to be — I’m going to be a little disappointed. I know they will be there when it’s time.”

Roethlisberger will have to settle for simply being back and playing football again at Heinz Field. After a shaky start, he looked sharp in the second half in last Monday night’s 26-16 victory over the Giants at MetLife Stadium.

With James Conner back for the Sunday’s home opener against the Broncos (0-1), he will likely be back in the starting lineup for the Steelers (1-0). However, he might not be the “bell cow” head coach Mike Tomlin called him last week when speaking about the team’s running back situation.

Benny Snell has likely earned himself an expanded role, regardless of who starts the game.

It would be even more exciting to get to 2-0, especially considering the Steelers started last season 0-3 before rallying to get to 8-8 despite not having their starting quarterback for all but six quarters of the season.

The Broncos (0-1) will be attempting to avoid that start themselves, knowing that it will be an uphill climb in the AFC if they lose their first two games. They gave the Titans all they could handle in the other Monday night opener, losing 16-14.

Now, they travel to east on a short week to face an extremely motivated Roethlisberger.

THE INJURY REPORT

Steelers: G David DeCastro (knee, out)

Broncos: LB Mark Barron (hamstring, out), RB Phillip Lindsay (toe, out), OT Garrett Bolles (elbow, questionable), WR Courtland Sutton (shoulder, questionable), WR Tyrie Cleveland (hip, questionable)

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