Ben Roethlisberger was superb in the desert on Sunday, leading the Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2) to a 32-20 victory over the Arizona Cardinals (1-5). The Pittsburgh signal caller was 25 of 38 on the day for 340 yards and three touchdowns. He connected with speedy wideout Mike Wallace in the second quarter on a 95-yard touchdown toss, the longest pass play in the history of the storied Steelers franchise. The win was Pittsburgh's third in a row, while the Cardinals dropped their fifth straight after a season-opening victory against the Carolina Panthers.
While Roethlisberger excelled on the offensive side of the ball, LaMarr Woodley more than matched him on defense. The Pittsburgh linebacker was a disruptive presence throughout, harassing Arizona quarterback Kevin Kolb all afternoon and generally being a nuisance in the Cardinals backfield for sixty straight minutes. Woodley finished with seven total tackles, two sacks, two tackles for loss and forced a safety in the third quarter when Kolb intentionally grounded the ball in the end zone in the face of Woodley's rush.
Pittsburgh overcame sloppy tackling and bad penalties in the first half that allowed the Cardinals to hang around. After Arizona trimmed the lead to 17-14 on a Kolb to Larod Stephens-Howling 73-yard pass early in the second half, the Steelers ran off 15 straight points over the third and fourth quarters to regain control of the game.
Hines Ward left the game with a foot injury, and did not return. The team has yet to report on the severity of the injury.
The Steelers return home next week to face the New England Patriots at Heinz Field in a battle of perennial AFC powers.