Mike Tomlin and the Steelers mean business at The Heinz. Tonight, Tomlin’s crew gets a visit from Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, Tom Brady’s hair, and the New England Patriots in our first Sunday Night Football live blog excursion of the season.
8:22 – Welcome all to tonight’s journey. I’m not sure if there is a possible way to top the Gus Johnson game today but we’ll give it a shot. This battle between a pair of 6-2 teams should tell us a little bit more about the AFC, which seems to be very much up in the air.
8:26 – First non-related football question. When Faith Hill hangs up her microphone, who will they get to sing that song? I’m guessing the default pop/country singer at the moment. Carrie Underwood anyone?
8:30 – Al Michaels notifies us that this is the first time since 1985 that a game will feature two opposing starting quarterbacks with multiple Super Bowl rings, which is quite amazing if you think about it.
8:33 – The Pats defense wins the opening series by denying Ben and friends on a third down. By the way, has Roger Goodell woken up in the middle of the night yet fearing a potential Philly/Pittsburgh Super Bowl?
8:35 – BJGE rips off the longest run of the year against the Pitt defense – 18 yards.
8:39 – Brady unleashes a frozen rope to Rob Gronkowski for a touchdown. Pats made that drive look rather easy against the unbreakable Steelers defense. Tom Brady’s hair bangs through the extra point.
PATRIOTS 7, STEELERS 0
8:44 – Wow. Watching the Patriots run defense versus Peyton Hillis and the Pats versus Rashard Mendenhall are clearly two different things so far.
8:48 – A Gary Guyton sack of Ben sets up Pittsburgh for a 3rd and Alliance, Ohio. One play later…another Patriots sack, which leads to the always enjoyable 4th and 37.
8:51 – This picture best describes my opinion of the Pittsburgh offensive line thus far.
9:00 – After a catch by Danny Woodhead, the Patriots salvage the drive with a 31-yard field goal by
Stephen Gostowski Shayne Graham. All New England so far…
PATRIOTS 10, STEELERS 0
NOW A WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR…
9:03 – Thanks Fred. I’ll opt for Gatorade instead.
9:05 – The Steelers end a rather unassuming first quarter for them with a potential injury to Hines Ward.
END OF THE FIRST QUARTER: PATRIOTS 10, STEELERS 0
9:07 – Oh my. Chad Ochocinco is featured in a new commercial with Joe Esposito’s You’re The Best blaring in the background. He could be selling ground black pepper in that spot and as long as that music is behind him, Ochocinco can’t go wrong.
9:12 – Belichick challenges a Hines Ward catch that ended the first quarter originally. He wins the challenge, which negates the start of the second quarter. Oh that wacky BB.
9:14 – Pat Chung rings the bell of Steelers receiver and resident deep threat Mike Wallace to officially conclude matters in the first quarter. Ok, we mentioned Chung. Let’s just get this out of the way.
9:16 – Seriously, if you’re angry after watching that clip, you may not have a patriotic bone in your body. Whenever I see this video, I think of ice cream sandwiches, Mrs. Stafford’s second grade homeroom, and Nintendo. Fun times.
9:18 – Pittsburgh might want to do something with this drive…
9:20 – …or not. The Patriots sack Ben once again to force a punt.
9:23 – Brady drops back to throw, marries Gisele a second time, and then hits Wes Welker for a catch into Steelers territory. ZERO PASS RUSH by Pittsburgh tonight so far.
9:28 – New England’s drive stalls and they have to punt. Speaking of Lady Gisele…why not.
9:41 – Jermaine Cunningham is offsides on a 3rd and 7, which draws the ire of BB. Not to worry though Patriots fans, Roethlisberger and company miss out and have to settle for a short Jeff Reed field goal.
PATRIOTS 10, STEELERS 3
9:44 – Welker drops a pass in front of Ryan Clark, which prompts Collinsworth to remind us of this…
9:48 – Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) is starring in an upcoming movie called Faster. Really? I’ve only seen this trailer 60 times today.
9:54 – Oh boy. Brady got hit low at the knees…where is the flag? James Harrison did it by the way. He might hear from New York on that one…as he should.
9:58 – The Rookie giveth and he taketh away…Gronkowski gets called for OPI on a 4th and 6 after making a first down catch. Color Tom Brady angry.
10:00 – Credit the Pats secondary as well. Even when Roethlisberger has time tonight, he can’t seem to settle into where to throw the ball.
10:01 – A shoddy display of tackling allows Mewelde Moore to run down the sideline after a reception and into New England territory. Belichick is going to light up somebody over that.
10:04 – Hail Mary attempt. KNOOOOCCCCKKKK ITTTTTT DOWWWWWN…and New England does to end the first half. Apparently, that memo was not received in Jacksonville today when the Texans decided to play volleyball on the last play of the game.
HALFTIME: PATRIOTS 10, STEELERS 3
10:17 – After devouring an ice cream cone at halftime, I feel refreshed and ready to roll. The Steelers are getting beat at the point of attack on both sides of the ball. It’s that simple.
10:19 – The Patriots are running for show and passing for dough tonight; a pass to run ratio of 25 to 7.
10:22 – NE needs to regain a two score lead, with the quickness.
10:25 – The Patriots agree with my sentiments. Rob Gronkowski scores for the second time tonight. No one bothered to cover him the flat area.
10:26 – New England’s game plan tonight is pretty basic…
10:32 – Roethlisberger was sacked for the fourth time tonight as Mike Wright joined the party.
10:33 – Not to be all reactionary but we’ve totally overvalued the Steelers. Remember, the Steelers won their two Super Bowls during this era under mitigating cirumstances:
- They were practically given Super Bowl XL thanks to subpar officiating.
- No Brady in ’08.
Those two years should have asterisks placed next to them, no? Ok, maybe a bit over the top but still. The Steelers better hope (a) they make the playoffs in what is shaping up to be a devastating AFC field and (b) that their line doesn’t get Ben killed.
10:38 – A holding penalty kills New England’s drive and they are forced to punt. Pittsburgh is playing with zero zip or verve this evening.
10:42 – Steelers need to stop fussing around with field goal drives. This one needs to end with seven.
10:44 – On cue…PI against the Patriots as Roethlisberger went deep to Mike Wallace. Use the college rule for this please. A spot foul is patently absurd but it leads to more scoring…
10:46 – Roethlisberger misfires on third down. Without Hines Ward, they don’t have a lot of options down at the goal line. They’ll get three here easily though.
10:47 – Jeff Reed misses a 26-yard field goal and becomes the most disliked figure at Heinz Field. Another Patriots score and you can cue up Don Meredith. I know Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger is no Peyton Manning.
10:50 – Patriots FINALLY hit a long one on the Steelers. Brady to Brandon Tate goes for 45 yards. They caught the great Troy Polamalu. Well done Tom.
10:53 – As great as Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau is, he can’t figure out Tom Brady.
10:54 – Closing out a game-defining drive, Brady calls his own number on a quarterback sneak to give New England a three score advantage. Turn out the lights…the party’s over…
PATRIOTS 23, STEELERS 3
10:57 – Uncle Roger can sleep a little easier tonight. Pittsburgh shouldn’t mention the words “Super” and “Bowl” together for awhile after this effort. Oh wait, there is still fourth quarter to go.
END OF THE THIRD QUARTER: PATRIOTS 23, STEELERS 3
10:59 – While we await the fourth quarter, join The Stones for a brief musical interlude.
11:05 – Jonathan Scott. Stop it please. Enough with the holding tonight.
11:06 – Finally, I have something positive to say about Steelers football. Sanders TD from Ben. The bleeding stops.
PATRIOTS 23, STEELERS 10
11:07 – So, the Steelers need a stop, touchdown, stop, touchdown in 12 minutes of game action. Yep, that might be tough.
11:10 – Pittsburgh puts themselves in a hole once more by allowing Tate to run the ball out to the NE 40 on the kickoff.
11:15 – Brady draws an intentional grounding penalty in Steelers territory, which mutes a Patriot drive. Is Zoltan Mesko the first Zoltan in NFL history? Has to be…
11:18 – Another Tron really had to be done, eh? Wow. Hollywood is running extremely low on ideas.
11:19 – Ben Roethlisberger is pick-sixed by James Sanders. While not getting much pass protection, Roethlisberger has been brutal tonight. Patriots fail to complete a two-point try.
PATRIOTS 29, STEELERS 10
11:27 – Pittsburgh gathers a redeeming touchdown of sorts thanks to a catch by Wallace. They should have thought of this two quarters ago.
11:30 – Interesting…after the score, Pittsburgh opts to go for two. They pick it up and are down 11. Now, all they need is to recover an onside kick, a touchdown, two-point conversion, field goal, an order of fries, double chocolate shake, and a bacon cheeseburger.
PATRIOTS 29, STEELERS 18
11:32 – Pittsburgh’s comeback plan takes a hit as New England recovers the onside kick.
11:33 – Brady becomes the second quarterback to post three straight 300-yard games versus Pittsburgh. The other? If you guessed Brian Sipe, you are correct.
11:36 – Ooooh. For good measure, Brady hits Rob Gronkowski for a third touchdown to put the final nail in the Pittsburgh coffin for the evening. The Hairdo has 350 yards and three touchdowns against the vaunted Steelers defense.
PATRIOTS 36, STEELERS 18
11:39 – Well Steelers Nation, you still have the 70s. Just watch Super Bowl XIII or something.
11:42 – By the way, this is the type of game that makes people question why they get involved with fantasy football. Roethlisberger is piling up the junk yards and hits Wallace for another touchdown.
PATRIOTS 36, STEELERS 26
11:50 – Is this game really approaching three and a half hours?
11:51 – Graham adds three more. This is the Ten Commandments of games.
11:56 – Just to be difficult, the Patriots call a timeout with :28 seconds left.
11:58 – Roethlisberger throws a ton of Estee Lauder on his numbers but it doesn’t help. The Steelers give up the second highest point total ever at Heinz Field. Patriots have the high water mark of 41 as well, which they set back in January 2005 during the AFC title game en route to winning its third Super Bowl in four seasons. Much like that night, Tom Brady was boss once again.
FINAL SCORE: PATRIOTS 39, STEELERS 26
12:03 – Alas, the finish line is here…a few quick comments though. First, if you’re a Steelers fan, this was a disheartening performance. Yes, it’s Tom Brady but still. They no-showed tonight on both sides of the ball. At the moment, they are not Super Bowl stock. Meanwhile, New England is back on track but still has some tough work ahead. They have Indianapolis and Detroit over the next 12 days. However, a huge win for the team and an uplifting effort for the defense.
12:07 – We close tonight’s proceedings with Howlin’ Wolf…