The New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers entered the 2018 season as a pair of Super Bowl contenders. Fast-forwarding to present day, both teams will attempt to wipe the metaphorical egg of its face after embarrassing losses to the Dolphins and Raiders a week earlier.
The winner will be back on track. The loser? Well, we’ll have to see…
4:25 – Steelers won the toss and will receive in their awful all black jerseys with gold trim. Gross.
4:35 – With James Conner out of the lineup today, Pittsburgh leans on Jaylen Samuels in the game’s opening drive. A mix of rushing and pass-catching by Samuels sets up the Steelers in the red zone. Thus, the best red zone team in the NFL statistically since 2003 finishes off the drive a short TD toss to tight end Vance McDonald. Chris Boswell is still employed and hits the extra point.
STEELERS 7, PATRIOTS 0
4:45 – Tom Brady completes three passes on the opening drive. The third is a 63-yard toss to a wide open Chris Hogan.
How wide open was Hogan? THIS WIDE OPEN (he is at the bottom of the screen while Josh Gordon has three guys trailing him).
PATRIOTS 7, STEELERS 7
4:53 – The Patriots come up with two sacks of Big Ben on the following drive. Shocking. A punt!
4:58 – New England’s next offensive drive is mutilated by a pair of drops. The first on a 2nd and 10 hits Julian Edelman right in the hands. The second, a tougher catch to make, comes from James White on a throw a little bit behind him while Brady scrambled. PUNT.
5:02 – Steelers ball as the first quarter comes to an end…
END OF FIRST QUARTER: PATRIOTS 7, STEELERS 7
5:09 – Pittsburgh starts a drive on their 8. The big play is a long (AND TERRIBLE) pass interference call against New England’s Jonathan Jones – just the fourth pass interference call against the Pats all season. Moments later, Big Ben sticks one on Antonio Brown in the end zone to give the lead back to Pittsburgh.
STEELERS 14, PATRIOTS 7
5:22 – New England has to punt again. After an amazing play to down it at the Steelers 1, Pittsburgh rolls out to midfield and appeared destined to go right back into the end zone. However, the ghost of 2017 appears and it New England’s Duron Harmon comes up with a critical interception. New England needs some points…IMMEDIATELY.
5:35 – Nothing doing for New England again as pressure gets ratcheted up on Brady just enough on a 3rd down play. New England has not converted a third down yet. Lucky for the Pats, their D forces another punt.
5:48 – Cordarrelle Patterson’s shin falls short of a first down conversion. After the review takes place, it’s 4th and inches from the NE 40. Instead of going for it, Belichick stalls and Brady ushers the offense off the field quickly for the team to eventually punt. All of this wastes a bunch of time. Advantage Patriots.
5:49 – Because Pittsburgh opted not to call a timeout, they end up taking a knee because they wasted too much time. Weird ending to the half but one that benefited New England.
HALFTIME: STEELERS 14, PATRIOTS 7
6:06 – New England’s opening drive of the third quarter fizzles quickly after an initial first down. Two runs and a dropped pass by Josh Gordon leads to a punt. It’s the third catchable ball of the day dropped by a Patriots wide receiver. Trouble is looming.
6:16 – The Steelers are poised to score inside of the New England 10 and then the bottom falls out. Roethlisberger gets called for intentional grounding. An incomplete pass follows and then Chris Boswell misses a 31-yard field goal. Hopefully, he has his resume ready.
6:28 – The Patriots try really hard to give this game back to the Steelers by virtue of penalties against Julian Edelman. However, a big pass interference call against Pittsburgh keeps the drive alive.
6:30 – The Patriots run, run, run, run, run, and run some more. Then, on a 3rd and 4, an Edelman catch comes up just a yard shy of a first down on a quick screen. Field goal time and perhaps, a bullet dodged by the Steelers D.
STEELERS 14, PATRIOTS 10
6:34 – A weird third quarter comes to an end…
6:49 – New England hits a 25-yarder to Edelman in the red zone. After a clutch Gronk catch to setup New England with a goal to go, Brady tries to throw a pass away and it gets intercepted by Joe Haden. He was off balance and couldn’t get it far enough. He was going to likely take a deadly sack. Any way you slice it, bad throw. Steelers ball inside their 10 with about eight minutes left.
6:57 – Three minutes left and the Steelers are trying to salt the game away but a big 3rd and 9 looms with just over three minutes left. Roethlisberger dances around in the pocket and seemingly with nowhere to go, he tosses to Samuels downfield for a backbreaking first down.
7:06 – The Steelers are making this really hard on themselves. This game reminds me of two aging prizefighters brawling with not a lot of left in the tank.
7:08 – Boswell hits a 48-yarder with plenty of room to spare. Incredibly, they manage to give the ball back to the Patriots. Shoutout to Jonathan Jackson, who made a spectacular breakup against JuJu Smith-Schuster, who seemingly was set to haul in a game-sealing touchdown pass.
STEELERS 17, PATRIOTS 10
7:13 – Incoming troll tweet:
7:20 – New England gets inside the Pittsburgh 20 after a big throw to Edelman but can’t close out the drive. A holding call forces them to get 15 yards for a first but three shots to the end zone come up short. For some reason, Brady falls down slightly on the fourth down throw and it’s not close to Edelman or Gronkowski. It would have been intercepted if it was accurate to either one. Weird ending but with 14 penalties against the Patriots, they didn’t deserve to win.
FINAL: STEELERS 17, PATRIOTS 10
SUMMARY: This was a must win for the Steelers. If they lost, they would have been hobbling down the stretch to get into the playoffs. They have staved off problems for another week. However, New Orleans looms next. As for the Patriots, this resembling the ’09 season. Now, the Patriots seemed destined to play on wild card weekend against the Ravens barring a last-minute pardon from the Eagles next against Houston.