The Pittsburgh Steelers aren't playing like a team missing Le'Veon Bell.
Ben Roethlisberger threw for 328 yards and five touchdowns, James Conner ran for 65 yards and a score before leaving late with a possible concussion and the Steelers pounded the Carolina Panthers 52-21 on Thursday night for their fifth straight victory.
Antonio Brown added eight receptions for 96 yards — including a 53-yard touchdown in the second quarter — to cap an eventful day that began with the star wide receiver being cited for reckless driving after police clocked Brown's Porsche driving over 100 mph down a busy highway in the northern city suburbs.
While Bell — a three-time Pro Bowl running back who still hasn't signed his one-year franchise tender — tweeted his thoughts as he watched on television, the Steelers (6-2-1) rolled on without him. Bell has until next Tuesday to sign a contract if he wants to play this season.
The Panthers (6-3) saw their three-game winning streak come to an abrupt halt in a city where they've never won. Carolina fell to 0-4 all-time in Pittsburgh and was never really in it after the Steelers scored 21 points in the game's first 11 minutes.
Cam Newton completed 23-of-29 for 193 yards and two flips to Christian McCaffrey that the second-year running back turned into scores but Newton's showdown with Roethlisberger never materialized. The Steelers sacked Newton five times and rarely let him get comfortable.
Josh McCown will start
for injured Sam Darnold
New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown, 39, will start Sunday against the Buffalo Bills in place of injured rookie Sam Darnold, who's sidelined with a strained right foot.
"I'm ready to rule him out as a starter for this week," coach Todd Bowles said of Darnold on Thursday. "I don't know if I'll rule him out yet for the game."
That means Darnold still could potentially be the No. 2 quarterback on Sunday. If not, Davis Webb would be promoted from the practice squad to serve as McCown's backup.
McCown, a former Browns quarterback, has not taken a snap in a regular-season game this season as the Jets have focused on developing Darnold. The No. 3 overall pick won the job out of training camp, but was injured during New York's 13-6 loss at Miami last Sunday.
McCown was the Jets' starter last season and had a career year before being sidelined the last three games with a broken left hand.
Former Lions, Cardinals
running back dies at 92
Wally Triplett, the trailblazing running back who was one of the first African-Americans drafted by an NFL team, has died. He was 92.
The Detroit Lions and Penn State announced Triplett's death Thursday. Triplett was the third African-American selected in the 1949 draft, but he was the first of those draftees to play in a regular-season game. He played in 24 games for the Lions and Chicago Cardinals.
Triplett was also the first African-American to start for Penn State, and in 1948, he and teammate Dennie Hoggard became the first African-Americans to play in the Cotton Bowl.
Triplett was drafted by the Lions in the 19th round in 1949. He played in 18 games for Detroit from 1949-50. On Oct. 29, 1950, against the Los Angeles Rams, he had 294 yards on four kickoff returns, an NFL record that lasted until 1994.