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The Journal Gazette

Friday, November 09, 2018 1:00 am

NFL Pittsburgh 52 Carolina 21

Roethlisberger throws 5 TDs

WILL GRAVES | Associated Press

PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Steelers aren't playing like a team missing Le'Veon Bell.

Ben Roethlisberger threw for 328 yards and five touchdowns, James Conner ran for 65 yards and a score before leaving late with a possible concussion and the Steelers pounded the Carolina Panthers 52-21 on Thursday for their fifth straight victory.

Antonio Brown added eight receptions for 96 yards – including a 53-yard touchdown in the second quarter – to cap an eventful day that began with the star wide receiver being cited for reckless driving after police clocked Brown's Porsche driving over 100 mph down a busy highway in the northern city suburbs.

While Bell – a three-time Pro Bowl running back who still hasn't signed his one-year franchise tender – tweeted his thoughts as he watched on television, the Steelers (6-2-1) rolled on without him. Bell has until Tuesday to sign a contract if he wants to play this season. His teammates have long since tired of talking about Bell's status and at this point, the AFC North leaders appear to be doing just fine on their own.

Carolina not so much.

The Panthers (6-3) saw their three-game winning streak come to an abrupt halt in a city where they've never won. Carolina fell to 0-4 all-time in Pittsburgh and was never really in it after the Steelers scored 21 points in the game's first 11 minutes.

Cam Newton completed 23 of 29 for 193 yards and a pair of flips to Christian McCaffrey that the second-year running back turned into scores, but Newton's showdown with Roethlisberger never materialized. The Steelers sacked Newton five times.

McCaffrey finished with 138 yards total offense (77 yards rushing, 61 yards receiving) and accounted for all three Panthers scores.