Ben Roethlisberger posts perfect passer rating in Steelers' blowout of Panthers

Ben Roethlisberger didn’t even need all 60 minutes to wreck the Carolina Panthers.

With 11:01 left in the game, Roethlisberger put on a knit hat and a parka. He was done for the night with the Steelers out to a huge lead. The Panthers were probably happy about that because they had no chance of stopping Roethlisberger or the Steelers.

Roethlisberger finished the Steelers’ 52-21 win with a perfect 158.3 passer rating, completing 22 of 25 passes for 328 yards and five touchdowns. Roethlisberger hooked up five different players with touchdown catches. The Steelers were in total command by the time the fourth quarter started, allowing Roethlisberger to take a seat and watch Joshua Dobbs finish the game. The Steelers improved to 6-2-1.

The Panthers aren’t bad, of course. They were 6-2 coming into Thursday night’s game. Their defense was in the NFL’s top 12 in yards and points allowed before facing the Steelers. And Pittsburgh ripped them apart. The Steelers have gotten hot after a slow start to the season, and they looked like one of the best teams in football on Thursday night.

SEE ALSO: Roethlisberger takes hit from Eric Reid: 

9 PHOTOS
Panthers' Eric Reid ejected after hit on Ben Roethlisberger
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Panthers' Eric Reid ejected after hit on Ben Roethlisberger
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) begins his slide at the end of a run as Carolina Panthers strong safety Eric Reid (25) closes in during the second half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. Reid was ejected for a hit on the play. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger begins his slide at the end of a run as Carolina Panthers strong safety Eric Reid (25) prepares to hit him during the second half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. Reid was ejected after the play. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) is hit by Carolina Panthers strong safety Eric Reid (25) as he slides at the end of a run during the second half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. Reid was ejected. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) is hit by Carolina Panthers strong safety Eric Reid (25) as he slides at the end of a run during the second half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. Reid was ejected. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) slides after running for yardage as Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid (25) looks to make the tackle during third-quarter action at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. The Steelers won, 52-21. (Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/TNS via Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) slides after running for yardage as Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid, right, looks to make the tackle during third-quarter action at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. The Steelers won, 52-21. (Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/TNS via Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) and Carolina Panthers strong safety Eric Reid (25) bump fists after Reid was ejected for a hit on Roethlisberger at the end of a run during the second half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 08: Head coach Ron Rivera of the Carolina Panthers has words with referee Walt Coleman #65 after Eric Reid #25 was ejected during the third quarter in the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on November 8, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Carolina Panthers strong safety Eric Reid heads to the locker room after being ejected following a hit on Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during the second half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
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Steelers offense steamrolls Panthers

The crazy thing about the Steelers’ destruction of the Panthers is that Carolina scored first. They drove easily downfield, and Cam Newton hit Christian McCaffrey on a touchdown pass. Good start.

Then Roethlisberger hit JuJu Smith-Schuster for a 75-yard TD on Pittsburgh’s first offensive play. Newton threw an awful interception that was returned by linebacker Vince Williams, and the rout was on.

Roethlisberger was dealing the whole night. After Smith-Schuster, Antonio Brown caught a long touchdown. Then Vance McDonald got one, Jesse James caught one and rookie running back Jaylen Samuels joined the fun with his first career touchdown on a short pass from Roethlisberger.

There are a lot of weapons at Roethlisberger’s disposal, as well as one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. And here’s where we’re obligated to mention that two-time All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell could soon join the Steelers’ star-studded offense … maybe.

Related: See each team's latest Super Bowl odds: 

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Midseason Super Bowl odds for each team
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Midseason Super Bowl odds for each team

T-31. San Francisco 49ers (1-7): 1000/1 odds

Via Vegas Insider

(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

T-31. Arizona Cardinals (2-6): 1000/1 odds

Via Vegas Insider

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)

T-29. Oakland Raiders (1-6): 500/1 odds

Via Vegas Insider

(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

T-29. Buffalo Bills (2-6): 500/1 odds

Via Vegas Insider

(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

28. New York Giants (1-7): 200/1 odds

Via Vegas Insider

(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

T-25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4): 150/1 odds

Via Vegas Insider

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

T-25. New York Jets (3-5): 150/1 odds

Via Vegas Insider

(AP Photo/Howard Simmons)

T-25. Cleveland Browns (2-5-1): 150/1 odds

Via Vegas Insider

(AP Photo/David Richard)

T-22. Tennessee Titans (3-4): 100/1 odds

Via Vegas Insider

(AP Photo/Mark Zaleski, File)

T-22. Miami Dolphins (4-4): 100/1 odds

Via Vegas Insider

(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

T-22. Indianapolis Colts (3-5): 100/1 odds

Via Vegas Insider

(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

21. Denver Broncos (3-5): 80/1 odds

Via Vegas Insider

(Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)

20. Seattle Seahawks (4-3): 66/1 odds

Via Vegas Insider

(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

T-17. Detroit Lions (3-4): 50/1 odds

Via Vegas Insider

(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

T-17. Dallas Cowboys (3-4): 50/1 odds

Via Vegas Insider

(Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)

T-17. Cincinnati Bengals (5-3): 50/1 odds

Via Vegas Insider

(Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

T-10. Washington Redskins (5-2): 33/1 odds

Via Vegas Insider

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

T-10. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-5): 33/1 odds

Via Vegas Insider

(AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

T-10. Houston Texans (5-3): 33/1 odds

Via Vegas Insider

(AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

T-10. Green Bay Packers (3-3-1): 33/1 odds

Via Vegas Insider

(AP Photo/Matt Ludtke, File)

T-10. Chicago Bears (4-3): 33/1 odds

Via Vegas Insider

(Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

T-10. Carolina Panthers (5-2): 33/1 odds

Via Vegas Insider

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

T-10. Atlanta Falcons (3-4): 33/1 odds

Via Vegas Insider

(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

T-8. Philadelphia Eagles (4-4): 25/1 odds

Via Vegas Insider

(Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

T-8. Baltimore Ravens (4-4): 25/1 odds

Via Vegas Insider

(Photo by Jay Anderson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

7. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2-1): 20/1 odds

Via Vegas Insider

(Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

6. Los Angeles Chargers (5-2): 14/1 odds

Via Vegas Insider

(Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

5. Minnesota Vikings (4-3-1): 10/1 odds

Via Vegas Insider

(Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

4. New Orleans Saints (6-1): 9/1 odds

Via Vegas Insider

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

T-2. New England Patriots (6-2): 6/1 odds

Via Vegas Insider

(Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

T-2. Kansas City Chiefs (7-1): 6/1 odds

Via Vegas Insider

(Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)

1. Los Angeles Rams (8-0): 7/2 odds

Via Vegas Insider

(Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

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James Conner gets evaluated for a concussion

The only bad part of the night for the Steelers came when James Conner was taken back to the locker room to be evaluated for a possible concussion. It’s a reminder that Bell will be a good insurance policy, if he decides to end his holdout and sign his franchise tender.

Everything else for the Steelers was about as perfect as Roethlisberger’s passer rating. The running game has been very good with Conner, and it might be even better with Conner and Bell splitting carries. The Steelers have two star receivers in Brown and Smith-Schuster, and a future Hall-of-Fame quarterback in Roethlisberger to get them the ball. The Steelers remain a Super Bowl contender because on the right day, they can outscore anyone.

The Chiefs, Rams and Saints get credit for their explosive offenses, and they currently look like the three best teams in football. But when the Steelers get it rolling on offense like they did on Thursday, they look as good as anyone in the NFL.

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Frank Schwabis a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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