PITTSBURGH — James Conner ran for 105 yards and a pair of touchdowns against his old team as the Arizona Cardinals beat the Steelers 24-10 on Sunday, the franchise’s first win at Pittsburgh since 1969.
Arizona (3-10) took control late in the first half with a 99-yard touchdown drive that ended with a 5-yard strike from Kyler Murray to Trey McBride. The Cardinals led the rest of the way, enduring a pair of lengthy delays due to severe weather.
Pittsburgh (7-5) saw all the progress shown by its offense a week earlier in a win over Cincinnati vanish. The Steelers lost starting quarterback Kenny Pickett to an ankle injury late in the first half and scored their only touchdown in garbage time.
Pickett wore a boot on his right foot during the second half while backup Mitch Trubisky took over and struggled to do much of anything as the Steelers let a chance to strengthen their position in the AFC playoff race slip away.
There is no postseason in the offing for rebuilding Arizona, but the Cardinals showed some fight while improving to 2-2 since Murray’s return from a torn ACL in his right knee.
Murray completed 13 of 23 passes for 145 yards and had 19 yards rushing. Arizona’s defense bounced back from a nightmarish showing against the Rams a week ago in which it was lit up for 37 points and 452 yards.
Pittsburgh had hoped to build on its win over the Bengals, the team’s first game since firing offensive coordinator Matt Canada and replacing him with Eddie Faulkner.
Instead, the Steelers took another step backward as the NFL’s 28th-ranked scoring offense continued to have trouble finding the end zone.
Trubisky completed 11 of 17 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown to Diontae Johnson.
The turning point came in the second quarter with the Steelers deep in Arizona territory. Pickett was tackled just short of the goal line while scrambling on third down, and Cardinals defensive end Jonathan Ledbetter fell on Pickett’s legs.
Pickett tried to get up only to kneel on the turf. He was taken to the locker room for evaluation and then ruled out.
Trubisky entered and the Steelers opted to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1. Najee Harris was stuffed for no gain and the Cardinals responded with a 15-play, 99-yard drive — most of it in a driving rain — that ended with a dart from Murray to McBridge.
Officials extended halftime for over 30 minutes as a round of storms swept through. The teams returned briefly, long enough for Steelers center Mason Cole to butcher a snap to Trubisky. The Cardinals fell on it and, eight plays later, Conner — a star at the University of Pittsburgh who then spent four seasons with the Steelers from 2017-20 — bulled over from a yard out to make it 17-3.
The game was paused again — this time for 53 minutes — but there was no spark from Pittsburgh as the Steelers entered a short week with plenty of questions to answer on offense.
Cardinals: RB Emari Demercado left with a neck injury in the first quarter after taking an illegal hit from Steelers LB Elandon Roberts and did not return. … WR Marquise Brown left in the third quarter with a heel injury.
Steelers: Roberts exited in the second quarter with a groin injury and briefly returned before leaving again for good. … LG Isaac Seumalo left in the second quarter with a shoulder injury.
Cardinals: Off next week before hosting NFC West-leading San Francisco on Dec. 17.
Steelers: Host New England (2-11) on Thursday night.
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL