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Mistakes Too Much to Overcome as Steelers Drop Second Straight 27-16 to Patriots

New England Patriots v Pittsburgh Steelers

In the end, not having their franchise quarterback along with too many field goals instead of touchdowns, combined with some odd play calling was enough to see the Steelers drop to 4-3 on the season.

The Patriots did more than enough to pull away for a 27-16 win on Sunday at Heinz Field, and while Landry Jones was able to keep the team in the game, a costly first quarter interception and the inability to score touchdowns was a big part of the Steelers undoing.

Jones’ first start of 2016 was a learning experience, as he made his share of mistakes, but also made some plays, enough to have the team down just four at the half at 14-10.

He had the Steelers down 20-16 in the fourth quarter after a Chris Boswell 44-yard field goal with 14:49 to play, but the Patriots, as they usually do in Heinz Field, marched right down the field and put the Steelers hopes of a win away with LeGarrette Blount’s second score of the game to make it a 27-16 affair.

The Steelers had chances early, as a first quarter fumble recovery by the Steelers was wasted as Jones thew a bad end zone interception to Malcolm Butler forcing a ball to Antonio Brown ended any chance of an early Pittsburgh lead.

Tom Brady and the Pats marched down the field after the pick, as he neatly went 80 yards in 13 plays, hitting James White with a 19-yard TD pass to give the Patriots a 7-0 lead.

New England went up 14 on their next drive, as this time they went 84 yards in 11 plays, with Blount going over from three yards out with 10:58 to play first half making it 14-0.

The Steelers finally got things going, as Jones hit a big play to Brown from 51 yards to set up an eventual touchdown pass to Darrius Heyward-Bey from 14 yards out to make it 14-7.

They had a shot to make it 14-10, but Chris Boswell missed a field goal, this also after a holding call on a touchdown pass would have tied up the game.

In the third quarter, the Steelers did draw it to 14-13 after Boswell hit a 46-yard field goal at the 8:49 mark, but as New England usually does, they quickly respond.

This time it was the passing of Brady, who quickly drove the team 75 yards in five plays, hitting Rob Gronkowski from 36 yards out to make it a 20-13 game after a missed point after.

Again though the Steelers couldn’t convert seven, as they drove down the field in 12 plays, but had to settle for another Boswell field goal to make it 20-16.

That’s as close as the Steelers would get, as the Pats put the game out of reach with a 75-yard drive right through the Steelers D, with Blount going over for his second score to make it 27-16.

The Steelers did have a shot to get closer after recovering a fumbled punt, but after they couldn’t get a first on 4th-and-2, Mike Tomlin sent out Boswell for a 54-yard field goal attempt, which wasn’t even close, ending the Steelers last good chance of the day.

Jones was 29-for-47 for 281 yards with the touchdown and pick, but overall the offense had too many mishaps, and there wasn’t enough rhythm, and they had to settle for too many field goals.

That may work against teams like the Browns, but not against Brady and New England.

About the only good news is that the Ravens and Bengals are still a game each out, as the Ravens lost to the Jets on the road, and the Bengals beat the Browns at home.

The Steelers are on the bye and will come back to play the Ravens in two Sunday’s on the road in Baltimore.

Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.



  1. Dave B.

    October 24, 2016 at 6:03 am

    The game went pretty much according to plan . Not enough Steeler offense , due to no Ben . On the other side , to much Brady and to much Gronkowski . One last note . Tomlins decision to send out Boswell for a 54 yard field goal at the start of the fourth quarter was one of the dumbest coaching decisions Tomlin has ever made . The kick had no chance and at that point a field goal means nothing . The bye week couldnt come at a better time .

  2. DrGeorge

    October 24, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    Let’s focus for a moment on what went right in this defeat. We all know what went wrong, and I don’t feel like piling on. Fans are morose enough as it is. But there were some good things on display yesterday that the team can use to inspire their future efforts.

    1. O-line. L. Jones got decent protection most of the day, and Bell managed to find holes to run through, most of the time. With Gilbert and Harris both injured, Hubbard played a solid game at RT. If it weren’t for the many penalties called on the O-line (two of them killed drives), it would have been one of the better outings for the O-line.

    2. Defense. The defensive effort was inspiring; Hargrave was a disruptive force; Jarvis Jones and Shazier both played well, when they were on the field; Vince Williams is a beast. Given our many injuries, the defense played about as well as it can. But as I’ve noted before, the NFL has become basketball on grass – which means the secondary and LBs must be able to play one-on-one against receivers. We don’t yet have the talent to do that consistently. And there is no Steelers defender who can match up with Gronkowski – he’s a freak of nature: tall, strong, and fast. Without Heyward, we had trouble stopping the run, too. New England was able to score on drives of 80 and 75 yards, and it could have been much worse, except that Belichick decided to control clock and protect his players for the next game. Yet, given all of that, the defense played hard. Butler just needs better talent at key positions.

    3. QB. Landry Jones didn’t embarrass himself, and he didn’t eclipse Ben R. either. He had several deep balls for completions and a nice touch pass for a TD. He sees the field well. But Jones was handicapped by the injuries to the receiving corps. Backup receivers ran bad routes or wrong routes all day, although Hamilton made several nice catches. Alas, Jones is also his own worst enemy at times; he occasionally makes poor decisions and questionable throws due to his lack of game experience. Worse, at times, Haley asks him to do things he does not do well. Jones has impressive physical tools, but the Steelers simply haven’t developed him properly. On balance, he played as well as expected and maybe a bit better than that. But given all of our injuries, I don’t think the outcome would have been much better with a healthy Ben R. under center.

    Over all. The Steelers have too many deficiencies and injuries in too many places to beat a team as good as the Patriots. That will not always be true – but it was true yesterday. The coming bye week is timely. We need time to get men healthy enough to play again. But our 4-3 record still leads the AFC North. And there is a lot of season left to play.

  3. Andy G

    October 24, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    Thanx,dr obvious

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