Roethlisberger and the offense tried to regain the form shown in the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bears, and for the most part, they succeeded. The normally stout Pittsburgh defense struggled in the game, giving up numerous big plays to Adrian Peterson and the Vikings.
Minnesota started the game off with a plodding drive, helped by a 15-yard face mask penalty, that ended in a 54-yard field goal conversion. Pittsburgh’s first drive managed just 17 yards before punting.
The Vikings came right back with a 70-yard touchdown pass on a screen play. Greg Jennings broke one tackle and sprinted through the defense. Poor pursuit from the Steelers turned a short gain into seven points.
Pittsburgh’s offense finally answered the call early in the game. Roethlisberger orchestrated a beautiful drive, mixing penetrating throws with tough runs. Le’Veon Bell, playing for the first time this season, showed off his skills on his 8-yard touchdown run. Bell added a much-needed dynamic to the stagnant Steelers’ running game, scoring their first rushing touchdown of the season.
Both teams traded a couple punts, then Minnesota’s Peterson took matters into his hands. On the Vikings first drive of the second quarter, Peterson ripped through the Steelers’ defense, shaking one tackle and stiff-arming a linebacker before racing into the end zone for a 60-yard touchdown run.
The Steelers’ put together a gutsy, nine-minute, 78-yard drive to answer back. Roethlisberger was pressured often and sacked three times, but he rallied to convert on third-and-long twice. The last sack came on third and goal and forced a Pittsburgh field goal. The Steelers went into the half down 20-10.
After receiving the ball to start the second half, Pittsburgh’s offense went right to work. An 80-yard drive, aided by a pass interference flag thrown in the end zone, led to a 1-yard touchdown run for Bell. Minnesota went score-for-score with the Steelers, repeatedly feeding Peterson the ball on their next drive and finishing it off with a 7-yard touchdown run. Roethlisberger threw a pick on the very next possession, giving the Vikings a short field and leading to a 17-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings.
Pittsburgh was down 34-17 heading into the fourth quarter. Roethlisberger and the offense tried another last-ditch comeback, scoring a touchdown and a field goal to cut the lead to seven with 3:40 left in the game.
The Steelers’ stopped the Vikings and got the ball back with 1:54 left and no timeouts. Roethlisberger drove the team all the way to the Minnesota 6-yard line with 24 seconds left, but on third-and-goal, Roethlisberger was sacked and stripped of the ball.
Pittsburgh limps into the bye-week and will face the New York Jets in Week 6.