In the wise words of Mark Madden: "This is what it's all about."
Ben Roethlisberger returned to form tonight and JuJu took full advantage of his return. Smith-Schuster was targeted 6 times and caught all 6 passes on Monday night against the Giants. To go along with going 6 -6 catches when targeted, he had 66 yards and 2 touchdowns. JuJu said he was going to bounce back this season and he sure did in Week 1 against the Giants! JuJu was asked if he was having fun out there on the field. He said Ben coming back was huge and the defense stepped up big time tonight.
"I am having a lot of fun. Having Ben back is huge for our offense as we get to do a lot more things and at the same time, I think our defense stepped up huge tonight. Being able to make those plays and stopping them (Giants) in the red zone."
JuJu noticed Ben Roethlisberger was back when there were 2 minutes left in the half and Ben drove all the way down the field to score a TD and take a 16-10 lead going into the half. That seemed to be the turning point for Ben. He shook the rust off and turned into Vintage Ben. Smith-Schuster said that is the Ben that we all know. The one who is able to put points on the board and drive.
"I was telling Dionate it felt so different, we do 2 minutes in practice and I was winded because the competition level I mean its there, but practice is not like an actual game and we had 2 minutes before the half to put points on the board we were like that's Ben, that's the Ben we know being able to put points on the board and drive that's what we do."
"This game means a lot to me you know it's personal for me. I had a couple big plays here and there, but it's more so about the whole team. Like I said it wouldn't be possible without the defense and also at the end of the game special teams you know it takes all of us. Ben told us we can be great individuals, but if we work all together we can be great as a team and that's what we showcased tonight."
JuJu said he never saw Ben Roethlisberger timid at all tonight. He felt the Steelers started off slow, but once they figured it out they picked it up and dominated.
"I never had an issue or saw a part of Ben being timid. I think that him being out of it for a year and coming back we kinda start off slow, but once we picked it up and Ben figured it out what he liked we executed the plays. Basic simple plays and we dominated. You know Ben has always been Ben and you could see it today."
Smith-Schuster's final question was about his fumble recovery when Benny Snell fumbled the football. He said he had to apply pressure and keep the ball there until the ref saw he had the ball. He said that play was huge for the Steelers.
"Literally in that pile all I heard was my teammates say watch the ball and I was the first one there. Everyone was on me and all I could feel was people punching and my left knee was about to bend, my finger was twisting the opposite way and I had the ball in my right rib. All I could do is apply pressure to keep it there. I held it long enough until the ref saw I had the ball. It was huge for us."