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.

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