Best and worst: Patriots 27, Steelers 16
WORST SIDELINE RETURN
Chris Hogan, after fumbling on the Patriots first play from scrimmage, trotted back to the Patriots sideline where he was greeted by Bill Belichick’s arms outstretched, palms up, shaking his head in disbelief.
BIGGEST OPPORTUNITY WASTED
After the Hogan fumble, the Steelers were within striking distance with a third-and-6 at the Patriots 16 but Landry Jones missed where he couldn’t miss
HOT WHEN NECESSARY
The Patriots started the game 5-for-5 on third down as they built a 14-0 lead. Among the plays: a 13-yard missile to LeGarrette Blount, a scramble and late throw to James White, a 19-yard screen to White for a touchdown, a 9-yard run by Blount and a scramble by Brady for 5.
MOST HEINOUS DROP
With the Patriots having lost some momentum in the second quarter, a third-and-7 throw to a wide open Brandon Bolden was dropped, ending the drive and returning the ball to the Steelers.
SECOND MOST HEINOUS DROP
Julian Edelman had a third-down drop late in the first half on a play he had room to run. A holding penalty on Shaq Mason would have wiped out any gain but the Patriots would have had another shot at third down.
PRETTIEST TOE TAP
Darrius Heyward-Bey pulled in a 14-yard touchdown from Landry Hones and somewhat improbably got his right foot down in the end zone to complete the catch with Eric Rowe scrapping him the whole way.
BEST SUPLEX, WORST RESULT
Artie (The One Man Party) Burns corralled Chris Hogan after a 13-yard gain then suplexed him to the ground drawing a 15-yard penalty for a 28-yard play.
A 10-yard holding penalty on Chris Hubbard wiped out a 14-yard touchdown pass to Heyward-Bey on a third-and-3 and forced Pittsburgh to settle for a field goal late in the second quarter. And they missed that one.
On the Patriots first drive after the half, Tom Brady was chased from the pocket and tried a shovelly-type throw that fell incomplete. Then Nate Solder was called for holding on back-to-back plays before New England was forced to punt.
On the Patriots second possession of the second half, the Pats were driving and at the Steelers 36 when Gronk ran down the seam and the deep safety opted to help outside on a shorter route, leaving Gronk 1-on-1 for what turned into a 36-yard score.
BIGGEST CAUSE FOR CONCERN
Stephen Gostkowski pushed a PAT wide right in the third quarter, his second PAT miss in as many weeks and third in seven games dating back to last season. He’s also missed three field goals.