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.