The Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the New England Patriots 27-24 in a tough fought game between two of the best teams in the NFL. The Steelers led 17-10 at the half and New England received the kick to start the second half.
Tom Brady led a methodical 12-play, 75-yard touchdown drive, capped off with a nice pass to Brandin Cooks to reach the end zone. Joe Cardona gave a bad snap that Stephen Gostkowski subsequently kicked wide and Pittsburgh maintained a 17-16 lead.
The Patriots defense forced a punt on the Steelers first drive of the second half, but Brady threw an ugly panic interception to a Pittsburgh linebacker, breathing new life into the stadium and giving the Steelers the ball on the Patriots 22-yard line. It was Brady’s fifth interception in four weeks.
Five plays later and Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell scored a touchdown as Pittsburgh took a 24-16 lead.
Brady and the offense punted after just five plays, but Matthew Slater downed a great Ryan Allen punt on the 2-yard line, setting up a long field for the Steelers and the defense forced another punt with eight minutes left in the game.
The Patriots offense marched 44 yards in 9 plays to score a field goal and a 24-19 deficit. The New England defense stepped up to force their first and only three-and-out of the game and give the ball back to Brady and the offense with 2:06 left on the clock.
Brady and Rob Gronkowski went down the field in 70 seconds, thanks to three catches for 69 yards by the tight end, capped off with a Dion Lewis run and a two-point conversion to Gronk and a 27-24 Patriots lead with 56 seconds left in the game. Gronkowski finished the game with 9 catches for 168 yards.
That proved too much time for the Steelers offense as Ben Roethlisberger found JuJu Smith-Schuster for a 69-yard catch and run down to the 10-yard line. There was a dramatic booth review as tight end Jesse James couldn’t hold on to what was originally called a touchdown (my two cents: I don’t see where the ball clearly hit the ground?).
But on a fake spike, Roethlisberger threw an inside slant that Eric Rowe knocked up to Duron Harmon to collect for the game-clinching interception.
New England’s third down defense was atrocious all game, giving up 10 of 15 attempts, but held on when it mattered most, forcing a three-and-out to give the ball back to the offense to win the game.
The Patriots are now 11-3 and the top seed in the AFC, while the Steelers fall to 11-3 as the second seed. The Patriots host the Buffalo Bills next week.