Roethlisberger completed 6 of 8 passes for 76 yards in three series, but could only produce a 26-yard field goal by Jeff Reed early in the second quarter to give the Steelers a 3-0 lead. It was Roethlisberger final series of the game.
"He moved us," said Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin. "It was a good start."
Tomlin explained that he allowed Roethlisberger one more series than planned because his second series ended with an interception by Corey Webster. The pass was underthrown to Mike Wallace after Justin Tuck had beaten Flozell Adams and pressured Roethlisberger.
Wallace was not underthrown by Byron Leftwich, who hit the speedster in stride for a 68-yard touchdown pass late in the second quarter.
Wallace ran past backup cornerback Bruce Johnson and Leftwich threw the ball just over 60 yards in the air for the score and a 10-7 Steelers lead with 2:49 left in the half.
The Steelers got the ball back at their 44 on a Joe Burnett interception with 53 seconds left. Mewelde Moore ripped off a 17-yard run and Leftwich scrambled for 11 yards, both with help downfield from center Maurkice Pouncey. Leftwich then connected with Antwaan Randle El at the 1, but instead of spiking the ball as Tomlin wanted, Leftwich ran a failed sneak and the Steelers were forced to use their last timeout. It haunted them two plays later when Moore was stopped up the middle and the clock ran out.
Leftwich completed 3 of 6 passes for 95 yards and the touchdown. His replacement in the second half, Dennis Dixon, completed 7 of 8 passes for 82 yards. He also rushed 5 times for 27 yards in leading the Steelers to two second-half touchdowns as they opened a 24-7 lead with 3:52 remaining in the third quarter.
"We moved the ball. We produced some splash plays," Tomlin said of his team's overall quarterbacking performance. "We made some mistakes, had some game-management things, things that are characteristic of the preseason."
Isaac Redman returned from a rib injury to run 12 yards for the Steelers' first touchdown of the second half.
A 22-yard run by Dixon set up Dwayne Wright's 2-yard touchdown run and the Steelers' final points.
Two Steelers defensive penalties – a personal foul by Joe Burnett and pass interference by Anthony Madison – helped set up Andre Brown's 1-yard touchdown run, and Lawrence Tynes kicked a 42-yard field goal to cut the lead to seven with 5:54 left.
The Giants did get the ball back, but were forced to punt and the Steelers ran out the clock.
Rookie Antonio Brown returned four punts for a 10.8 average with a long of 18. He also returned a pair of kickoffs 24 and 26 yards. In the kickoff derby, Daniel Sepulveda averaged 64.5 yards in four attempts, while Reed's only kickoff traveled 63 yards.
Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor and Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks were both ejected after a post-play fight during the game's first series. Taylor, who threw the first punch, apologized to teammates and fans after the game.