Big Ben ensures no relief for victims of Sandy

Ben Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes on Sunday to help Pittsburgh beat the New York Giants 24-20 in an NFL game played with Hurricane Sandy’s devastation as a backdrop.

With the New York area still recovering from the killer storm’s damage, the Steelers decided not to fill precious hotel rooms and travelled in and out of the area on Sunday.

“The first thing was to make sure we weren’t going to do anything to interfere with public safety or use resources that would help in the recovery,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said.

“We talked to a lot of people and they all said they needed something to re-energise, something to entertain.”

Severe damage prompted New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to cancel the New York Marathon that had been scheduled for Sunday, but the NFL game in suburban New Jersey went ahead as planned.

“I don’t think those three hours hurt the state’s progress towards recovery,” New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said.

Giants quarterback Eli Manning had his apartment building flooded in the wake of the storm.

NFL teams paid tribute to emergency first response personnel at every game and the Giants took food donations at the game.

“Our thoughts are still with the people who have lost so much during this past week,” Giants co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch said.

“A football game by comparison is such an insignificant event but hopefully it will bring some sense of distraction or comfort to those of our fans who have been hurt in any way by this storm.”

Roethlisberger flipped a four-yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders early in the second quarter to open the scoring but the Giants equalised on a scoring drive capped by Andre Brown’s one-yard touchdown run.

On the next Steelers possession, ‘Big Ben’ was hit while trying to pass and New York’s Michael Boley recovered the fumble and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown.

Shaun Suisham kicked a 30-yard field goal on the last play of the second quarter to cut New York’s half-time lead to 14-10.

Scotsman Lawrence Tynes answered from 23 and 50 yards for the Giants to boost their lead to 20-10. Roethlisberger found Mike Wallace on a short crossing pass and the receiver completed a 51-yard touchdown play to pull the Steelers back to 20-17 and Isaac Redman scored the game-winning touchdown with four minutes left.

Division leaders Chicago and Houston both improved to 7-1 with lopsided triumphs, the Bears routing hosts Tennessee 51-20 for their sixth consecutive victory and Houston ripping visiting Buffalo 21-9.

Chicago’s Brandon Marshall caught nine passes for 122 yards and three touchdowns from Jay Cutler while Matt Forte ran for 103 yards and a touchdown.

Matt Schaub completed 19 of 27 passes for 268 yards and two touchdowns for the Texans, while Arian Foster ran 24 times for 111 yards and a touchdown as Houston continued the best start in the team’s history.

Aaron Rodgers completed 14 of 30 passes for 218 yards and four touchdown passes as Green Bay ripped visiting Arizona 31-17, giving the Packers (6-3) their fourth victory in a row.

Baltimore and Denver enhanced their division leads with road victories, the Ravens rallying late for a 25-15 victory at Cleveland while Peyton Manning threw for three touchdowns as Denver took a 31-23 triumph at Cincinnati.

Baltimore’s Joe Flacco flipped a 19-yard touchdown pass to Torrey Smith to give the Ravens (6-2) the lead for good on their way to beating the Browns (2-7) for a 10th consecutive time.

Manning completed 27 of his 35 passes for 291 yards to spark the Broncos to a third win in a row and a 5-3 record to top the AFC West. The Bengals (3-5) suffered their fourth loss in a row.

Top draft pick Andrew Luck threw for an NFL rookie record 433 yards, hitting 30 of 48 passes, and host Indianapolis edged Miami 23-20.

The Colts (5-3) have won three in a row while Miami (4-4) had a three-game win streak snapped.

In match-ups of cellar dwellers, Mikel Leshoure ran for three touchdowns as Detroit won 31-14 at Jacksonville, while Cam Newton threw for one touchdown and ran for another in a 21-13 Carolina victory at Washington.

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