Steelers 25, Patriots 17: Tom Brady, Pats Stumble To Finish Line In Loss

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots stumbled to the finish line, with mistakes costing them in a 25-17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.

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Bill Belichick Is Stretched Too Thin With New England Patriots

Bill Belichick has done some outstanding things as the head coach of the New England Patriots. However, after accepting addition role within the organization, he has faltered. Is Belichick stretched too thin within the Pats' organization?


Patriots vs. Steelers: Big Ben Leads Steelers to 25-17 Win Over Brady, Patriots

Tom Brady suffered his 2nd loss in eight career games against Pittsburgh today as the Patriots fell 25-17 to the Steelers at Heinz Field. The score doesn't do the atrocity of New England's performance nearly enough justice, as they played their worst all around performance of the season.

The first half featured 18 Pittsburgh first downs to New England's eight, and 261 total Steelers' yards to the Patriots' 83. They were truly beaten in every facet of the game, and the fact that the score was just 17-10 at the half seemed to be pure luck for the Pats, as Ben Roethlisberger methodically drove the field 69 yards and 11 plays in 5:52 on the very first possession of the game for a touchdown.

He never really looked rattled after that either, completing a career 23 of 32 pass attempts in that first half alone. Tom Brady on the other hand seemed off kilter and out of sync, unable to every really develop a rhythm only completing 8 passes for 76 yards. His only touchdown came on a possession off a Gary Guyton interception of Roethlisberger in the second quarter.

The rest of the game played in a similarly atrocious display by the visiting team, only it seemed that it was the offense and bad clock management that truly failed the team in the second half rather than the defense.

It was Steelers ball with 8:48 left in the game, and the defense forced them to try a field goal after a 2:45 possession. Shaun Suisham missed the field goal to give the Patriots the ball back with just over 6 minutes back and down by 13 points. In typical late game fashion, Brady completed five straight passes to get to Pittsburgh 15 yard line. After an incomplete pass to branch, Brady hit Rob Gronkowski in the end zone for what was most certainly a touch down. The referees ruled the catch just outside of the end zone. With precious time ticking away and three time outs, Brady did all he could to hurry up his team for another attempt at the goal line. The major mystery is why Belichick did not challenge the call on the field that the catch was short of the touchdown, with three timeouts left and with absolutely no time to spare.

Nearly 90 seconds later Brady connected with Aaron Hernandez to make the score 17-23. With 2:35 left, the Patriots inexplicably attempted an onside kick. New England has not successfully performed an onside kick since 1994. They not only gave the ball to the Steelers but allowed them an extra five yards on an illegal touching penalty. The defense held the Steelers, with Andre Carter tackling Isaac Redman for a loss of a yard, Kyle Love sacked Roethlisberger again for a loss of 11 yards, then Mark Anderson sacked him again or a loss of eight yards. It looked almost exactly like what the defensive line did to Tony Romo two weeks ago late in the game.

Only this time, their offense and their coach had wasted away too much time to come back from. The game ended with a Tom Brady fumbled that was recovered by the Steelers in the end zone for a safety.

Check back tomorrow for my full analysis of the game, including who gets the blame and who gets a pass. Plus, looking ahead to next weeks' game against the New York Giants.


Steelers 25, Patriots 17: New England Dominated Despite Close Scoreline

The New England Patriots fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers 25-17 Sunday night, finding themselves dominated offensively and defensively despite a relatively close final score.

The Steelers set the tone for the game from the very beginning, marching down the field in their opening drive by taking advantage of the Patriots' porous pass defense, particularly over the middle. Tight end Heath Miller was particularly productive, picking up 55 yards in the first drive to set up a short pass to Mewelde Moore for the touchdown.

Defensively the Steelers were just as dominant, holding the Pats to a 3-and-out. Those plays would be the only ones the Patriots would run in the first quarter, with the Steelers again driving into field goal range to set up three more points to start the second quarter.

The Patriots would get on the board thanks to a couple of terrible plays by Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who took a sack after holding onto the ball for over six seconds and then threw the ball directly at Gary Guyton for an interception. A few plays later, and Tom Brady found Deion Branch for a touchdown.

It did not take long for the Steelers to repsond. An 11 play drive with only one third down put the Steelers in the end zone once again. The Patriots did manage to threaten before the half ended, but a 7-yard sack left them lucky to get back into field goal range, where Gostkowski booted home a 46-yarder to bring the Pats within a score at the half despite being more than doubled up in total offense.

Unfortunately, halftime did not bring the necessary adjustments for the Patriots. Another 3-and-out to start the third quarter was met by a 74-yard push from the Steelers that only stalled on the 3-yard line, where a chip shot put the Steelers back up by 10. 

Amazingly, despite being dominated all game, Tom Brady and the Patriots would have a chance for the miracle comeback. Completing 6-of-8 passes on the drive, Brady seemed to find Rob Gronkowski for a touchdown with four minutes left on the clock, but the referees incorrectly ruled the tight end down inches short. This would prove to cost the Patriots 90 seconds off the clock before they could finally get the ball into the end zone, leaving under three minutes in the game.

With the defense having proved incapable of keeping the Steelers out of the red zone on all but one drive, the Pats attempted an onside kick to try and pull off the miracle. But the kick was weak, went only seven yards, and came with an offside penalty to boot, leaving the Steelers in field goal territory and up six to boot. While Roethlisberger would take some potentially disastrous sacks, the Pats were down to 20 seconds with most of the field to go when they got the ball back. With Brady trying to buy time, the ball was knocked from his hand and punched out of the back of the end zone for a safety that sealed the game.


Patriots 10, Steelers 20, End 3rd: Patriots Running Out Of Time In Pittsburgh

The Patriots are running out of time to salvage a win in Pittsburgh, as the Steelers have added made it a two-score lead entering the fourth quarter.

For the Patriots, the third quarter wasn't much more productive than the first. A quick 3-and-out on the opening drive of the half matched their first possession of the day, giving the Steelers the ball once again. They took advantage. Three straight passes up the middle got brought the Steelers to midfield before a penalty set them back into a 3rd-and-15 situation. 

Somehow, though, the Patriots defense wasn't up to the task of stopping them even with such a prime situation. Another pass up the middle--this time to Emmanuel Sanders--proved good for 17 yards and a drive-saving first. The Steelers got into the Red Zone with another 17-yard toss, and then finally slowed down as the New England defense tightened up, holding them at the 3-yard line to force the field goal attempt.

The Patriots had a chance to answer on their next drive when they worked their way into field goal position with the help of a late helmet-to-helmet hit from the Steelers on Rob Gronkowski, but Stephen Gostkowski's kick was just off, driving the ball off of the right upright and back onto the field.


Patriots 10, Steelers 17, Halftime: New England Survives One-Sided First Half Down Just Seven

After one half of football, the Patriots trail the Steelers 17-10 in Pittsburgh.

The Patriots can perhaps count themselves lucky to be within striking distance after a first half like that one. The Steelers dominated them on both sides of the ball, outgaining New England by 180 yards and holding the ball for more than 20 minutes.

Defensively, the Patriots seem lost and appear to be suffering from some poor gameplanning. Coverage underneath has been conspicuously absent at times, and ill-timed blitzes led to a number of easy pass completions that led to two touchdown drives that seemed all-too-easy for the Steelers. 

The one real bright spot for the Patriots came when, confronted with two plays against unusually solid coverage, Ben Roethlisberger completely fell apart. On the second play of the Steelers' third drive, Roethlisberger held onto the ball for an inexcusable 6.5 seconds before taking a big sack, and one play later, he made a baffling throw directly at Gary Guyton, who made the easy interception to set up the Pats with terrific field position. Kevin Faulk, making his dramatic return to action, carried much of the load before Tom Brady picked out Deion Branch for a touchdown.

The Patriots would concede another touchdown to the Steelers to let them build their lead back to double digits, but made a strong push towards the end zone as the second half wound down. Unfortunately, a late sack left them struggling just to get back into field goal position before fourth down, which they managed only with a tricky direct snap to Kevin Faulk for 13 yards. Gostkowski connected from 46 yards away, and the Patriots were able to go into the half down by just one score.


Patriots 0, Steelers 7, End 1st: New England Helpless Against Pittsburgh's First Quarter Onslaught

The New England Patriots face a 7-0 deficit that’s about to become 10-0, and look completely helpless in the face of a strong Pittsburgh passing game and defense.

After winning the coin toss and choosing to defer, the Patriots’ defense came up completely empty against a Pittsburgh offense highlighting tight end Heath Miller. Over and over again, Ben Roethlisberger found Miller open over the middle for big gains, driving down the field in speedy fashion for an opening touchdown on a pass to Mewelde Moore.

The Patriots were not quite as impressive on their opening drive, going three-and-out after an incompletion to Deion Branch on 3rd-and-3.

With the defense having received little-to-no time to rest, Roethlisberger and the Steelers went right back to work, driving down the field in quick if clock-consuming fashion. Ill-planned blitzes from the Patriots routinely left receivers free for quick passes, and while the defensive line has been getting some solid pressure, Roethlisberger’s mobility and strong last efforts by the Pittsburgh offensive line kept the Pats away from much-needed sacks.

All this left the Steelers in the Red Zone as the clock ticked down towards zero, which is when the Patriots finally got that extra little push. After Patrick Chung single-handedly prevented a touchdown, Vince Wilfork came through the line on a third down and brought Roethlisberger to the ground, forcing the Steelers to start off the second quarter with a field goal.


Patriots Vs. Steelers Injury Update: Jerod Mayo, Kevin Faulk, Sebastian Vollmer Active

Some late injury updates coming out regarding Sunday's New England Patriots game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

According to Albert Breer of the NFL Network, New England has announced that linebacker Jerod Mayo will be available in the game. Also available are running back Kevin Faulk and tackle Sebastian Vollmer.

Good news regarding Mayo, who is fourth on the Patriots defense in both total tackles and solo tackles.

As far as the inactive or unavailable players for this key game against the Steelers will be running back Shane Vereen, linebacker Dane Fletcher, quarterback Ryan Mallett, defensive back Josh Barrett, linebacker Jermaine Cunningham, wide receiver Julian Edelman and guard Donald Thomas. (Via Patriots beat reporter Mike Reiss.)

The major player in the inactive list is Edelman, who is the lead kickoff and punt returner for the Patriots.

Keep up with the comings and goings of your fellow Patriost fans over at SB Nation's Pats Pulpit.


Patriots Vs. Steelers Injury Update: Hines Ward Out

Hines Ward has officially been ruled out by the Steelers for Sunday’s game against the Patriots.

Ward’s missing the game with an ankle injury will come as no real surprise to anyone—he’s not been expected to play all week. Also missing the game will be linebacker James Farrior, who was limited in his participation in practice for much of the week.

Ward’s ankle injury occurred last week in the third quarter of the Steelers’ 32-20 win over the Cardinals. The wide receiver had to be carted off the field. So far, the Steelers have managed just fine without much production from Ward, who has managed more than three receptions just once so far this season. Mike Wallace has more than made up for it so far, putting up over 700 yards of offense including 11 receptions of at least 20 yards. Last week he came up with 118 against the Cardinals.


Patriots Vs. Steelers: TV Schedule, Time, Location, History, And More

The Patriots and Steelers will do battle in Pittsburgh Sunday afternoon in a clash of top AFC powers.

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