In a game against an opponent that's 2-12, the early stages can be the most critical. If the underdog experiences some early success, and/or catches a few breaks, the team's confidence can grow and make it a more difficult opponent.
That's what the Carolina Panthers needed on Thursday night at Heinz Field, but the Steelers defense gave up nothing early and Ben Roethlisberger took care of the rest.
Roethlisberger completed 14 of his first 17 passes, and he finished the first half 16-of-23 for 259 yards with one touchdown, no interceptions and a passer rating of 121.5. When it was over, he had completed 22-of-32 for 320 yards with one touchdown, no interceptions and a passer rating of 111.5. He also ran for a touchdown.
Roethlisberger is the Steelers Digest Player of the Week.
Also considered were Mike Wallace, who had four catches for 104 yards, including a 43-yard touchdown; Heath Miller, who caught five passes for 73 yards; James Farrior, who had seven tackles, including two for loss, plus a sack; Brett Keisel, who had six tackles, a sack and a pass defensed; James Harrison, who had five tackles, a sack and a pass defensed; and Bryant McFadden, who had two tackles and an interception.