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Steelers Top Vikings 26-9 in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH — The Vikings dealt with too many "Bs" on Sunday in a 26-9 loss to the Steelers on Sunday at Heinz Field.

With Sam Bradford out, the Vikings started backup quarterback Case Keenum, played behind the chains on multiple possessions and were backed up against their own end zone to start a drive in the fourth quarter.

The Steelers variations of Bs were typically tough, particularly at home. Ben Roethlisberger completed 23 of 35 passes for 243 yards and two touchdowns for a rating of 104.8. Le'Veon Bell rushed 27 times for 87 yards.

Antonio Brown caught five passes for 62 yards, and the trio was joined by Martavis Bryant in his first game of 2017. Bryant caught three passes for 91 yards and a touchdown and drew an important pass interference call early. Chris Boswell kicked four field goals for the Steelers.  

Bradford was a no-go after being limited during practices all week with a knee injury.

Keenum, who joined the Vikings this offseason, took his first regular-season snaps for Minnesota and faced Pittsburgh for the first time in his career.

Sunday marked Keenum's 27th game and 25th start in the NFL. He previously played for the Texans and Rams after entering the NFL with Houston as an undrafted free agent in 2012.

Keenum completed 20 of 37 passes for 167 yards and was under frequent heat from Pittsburgh's blitzes and other pass rushes.

Dalvin Cook rushed 12 times for 64 yards. Kyle Rudolph caught four passes for 45 yards, Adam Thielen caught five passes for 44 yards. Laquon Treadwell added three catches for 33 yards, and Stefon Diggs finished with two receptions for 27 yards.

The Vikings trailed 14-3 at halftime and cut it to 17-9 in the third quarter thanks to a six-play, 82-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown plunge by C.J. Ham on his first career carry.

Ham's score followed a 25-yard run by Dalvin Cook and a 21-yard pass from Keenum to Diggs. Cook also had a 10-yard run on the possession that opened with a 17-yard pass interference penalty on

Minnesota tried a fake punt on its opening series of the second half, but Ryan Quigley's pass to Blake Bell was broken up, and Pittsburgh took possession at the Minnesota 36. The Vikings defense held and forced a 51-yard field goal attempt, which was no good, but Minnesota was flagged on the play.

Boswell was good on his second chance, booting a 46-yarder for a 17-3 lead with 12:19 left in the third quarter.

Here's a recap of the first half:

Pittsburgh got on the board in the first quarter with a 27-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger to Bryant, who quickly turned inside to get past Terence Newman and Andrew Sendejo on the catch-and-run.

The drive was extended when Brian Robison was flagged for encroachment on fourth-and-1 and helped by a 22-yard pass interference call against Xavier Rhodes on a deep route by Antonio Brown.

The Steelers opened the second quarter facing second-and-22 from their own 39 after Everson Griffen sacked Roethlisberger. It was Griffen's 50th career sack in his 50th start.

Pittsburgh took a chance and was rewarded with a 49-yard pass interference penalty on Trae Waynes, who made contact with Bryant before the ball arrived.

Bell rushed for gains of 6 and 2 to set up a 4-yard touchdown from Roethlisberger to JuJu Smith-Schuster on a shovel pass.

The Vikings followed with an 11-play drive that covered 51 yards, including a gain of 24 on a pass from Keenum to Adam Thielen. Kai Forbath was good on a 42-yard field goal to make it 14-3 with 8:50 left in the first half.

The Steelers improved to 15-2 in home openers at Heinz Field.

Up next: The Vikings return to U.S. Bank Stadium to two consecutive home games against the Buccaneers and Lions.

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