Best and Worst: Steelers 17, Patriots 10
The best -- and worst -- from the Patriots' 17-10 loss to the Steelers in Pittsburgh, which drops them into the third seed in the AFC playoff race.
OFF THE TOP OF HIS HEAD
J.C. Jackson (pictured) had very good coverage on Juju Smith-Schuster at the tail end of the first quarter but a perfectly-placed pass on second-and-14 from Ben Roethlisberger was picked off the top of Jackson’s helmet for the first down.
Chris Hogan scored a 63-yard touchdown on a pass from Tom Brady when a Steelers breakdown caused three defenders to go with Josh Gordon and zero defenders to go with Hogan.
After bringing no pressure on Ben Roethlisberger durng the first Steelers possession, New England got sacks from Jonathan Jones and Kyle Van Noy on the second series.
Julian Edelman, who’s been having issues holding onto the ball since training camp, had a drop on the Patriots second drive that short-circuited the possession.
OH, HEY, THE REFS ARE HERE
On the DPI, simple handfighting but back judge throws flag from Pluto. Instead of facing third-and-4, the 26-yard PI is the Steelers longest play and puts them at Patriots 17.
NO BROWNIE PONTS
The Patriots came out run-heavy on their third possession with four Sony Michel runs in a row but the final one, a 25-yard pickup by Michel, was nullified by a hold from left tackle Trent Brown.
SAVE THAT ONE, RENEE!
A Ryan Allen punt in the second quarter was slowed inside the Steelers 3 by Jonathan Jones, then volleyed back onto the field by Rex Burkhead before it was downed by Ramon Humber at the 1.
THAT WAS BRIEF
The Steelers gained 12, 24 and 17 on the three plays after being pinned at the 1, completely negating the great punt play. (The first was a 12-yard run by ex-Patriot Stevan Ridley, pictured.)
A downfield throw to Edelman late in the first half that would have been a chunk play got jarred loose by Joe Haden who arrived just as the ball did. It still should have been hauled in.
Cordarrelle Patterson, who had a very good first half and continues to develop as a downfield receiver, pulled in a third-and-9 pass from Tom Brady and – despite being surrounded – willed himself into a near first-down with a duck, roll and hand prop.
ARE YOU SHINNING ME?
After a review, Patterson’s scuttling, rolling, tripodding, effort to pick up a first down was ruled not good enough as replay showed that maybe his shin hit. Of course, while maybe ain’t supposed to get it done, once New York’s in the mix, that’s bad news for New England. Because they’re nothing if not reactive.
The Patriots’ first possession out of halftime ended when a Tom Brady throw to Josh Gordon clanged off the wideout’s hands on third down.
LASER TO RIGHT CENTER
Chris Boswell, Steelers kicker until Tuesday or so, absolutely laced a field goal attempt to the right, missing by about 58 feet.
TOUGH NIGHT FOR 11
In addition to the pair of drops, Edelman had a false start and an illegal shift on consecutive third quarter plays.
BAILED EM OUT
With the Patriots offense sputtering after a Tom Brady sack, Brady looked to Chris Hogan on a deep in-cut. It would have been a difficult grab in the first place but Joe Haden interfered with Hogan (pictured) to extend the drive.
THAT’S A NEW ONE
Ryan Allen got called for a false start on a field-goal attempt on a fourth-and-1. Musta been some chicanery trying to pull Pittsburgh offsides.
The Patriots run defense remained god-awful. Running back Jaylen Samuels went over 100 yards on just 12 carries entering the fourth quarter
WE'LL TRADE YOU
Stephen Gostkowski pulled the Pats to 14-10 with a third-quarter field goal, and then New England appeared poised to take the lead in the fourth when Duron Harmon (pictured at right) picked off his second pass of the game. But after the Patriots reached the Pittsburgh 5 (and then were pushed back to the 15 by their umpteenth penalty of the night), a wild heave by an about-to-be-sacked Brady was intercepted by Haden.