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As Usual, Steelers Slammed by Brady and Patriots When Season on the Line in 36-17 AFC Title Game Defeat

2001, 2004 and now you can add to the list 2016.

Sunday’s AFC Title Game between the Steelers and Patriots played like a broken record to most of the matchups between these two AFC foes, with Tom Brady picking apart a Steelers zone defense, and as usual a player from the Patriots making the most of an opportunity.

The end result is the end for the 2016 Steelers, a bitter 36-17 loss that really wasn’t even that close considering the black and gold allowed 19 second half points while scoring just eight after trailing 17-9 at halftime.

The Steelers, as they usually do against the Patriots, made a ton of mistakes, from missing tackles and coverage on an afterthought of a wide receiver named Chris Hogan, to not being able to score a touchdown from the one-foot line in the second quarter trailing 17-6.

Receivers dropped a number of passes, the team lost it’s biggest playoff playmaker on offense in Le’Veon Bell to an injured groin, and again the defense never had any answers for Brady despite allowing just 57 yards on the ground.

In the end, the Steelers played like the Cowboys of the 1960’s trying to beat the Packers, it’s been a one-sided rivalry that always looks like the Steelers are a step behind in.

Brady, per usual, was stellar against the black and gold, picking apart a zone defense that had issues all night in making sure players were covered, and even when they were they missed a number of tackles that allowed for yardage after the catch.

The Pats future Hall of Fame QB was 32-for-42 for 384 yards with three touchdowns, and a QB rating of 127.5 Without Bell, the Steelers offense just seemed two steps behind, which is usually where they are Bell or no Bell against a Brady led Pats offense.

Ben Roethlisberger,
who is now 3-2 in five AFC Title games (both losses to the Pats) was 31-for-47 for 314 yards with a touchdown and a pick.

Much will be talked about concerning the Steelers issues inside the red zone, but in the end no one is ever going to be Brady and the Pats after allowing 36 points, and it probably could have been worse if New England wanted it to be.

The pass rush was null most of the night by the Steelers, and a secondary that had made plenty of strides during the teams’ long win streak after sitting at 4-5 looked more like it did the first nine games, allowing way too many yards and not making plays when they had the chance.

Brady threw for 222 yards in the first half as the Pats built a 17-9 lead, but still the Steelers were in it as the offense played motivated, and it seemed despite not scoring the TD late in the first half they had a shot as they got the ball first in the second half.

Instead they went 3-and-out, and New England got a Stephen Gostkowski 47-yard field goal to make it 20-9, and from that point on the game was basically over.

The Steelers scored one meaningless TD late in the game to pull it to 36-17 after the extra point, but by then many Steelers supporters were already talking about next season or were looking for other Sunday night viewing options.

Don’t kid yourself, the Steelers have plenty to be proud of in 2016, but at the end of the day, if they don’t figure out a way to at least challenge Tom Brady when titles are on the line, the results when the season is on the line will likely always be the same.

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.

    January 23, 2017 at 7:13 am

    Call it whatever you will , but at the end of the day Brady does what he always does against the Steelers . He picked their defense apart , piece by piece and the Steelers had no answer on how to stop it . It was hard to watch . Combine that with the fact that we lost our best offensive weapon in the 1st quarter in LeVeon Bell and we had wide receivers like Cobi Hamilton dropping wide open touchdown passes the Steelers had no chance . That caliber of play wont work in a preseason game much less a championship game against a team like the Patriots . The Steelers have alot of work to do this offseason and now its time to get started . The defense still needs a quality pass rusher and right now they dont have it . Bud Dupree is set on the left side but the right side must be fixed . Harrison is in his last days and Jarvis Jones is likely gone . Free agency or draft , it has to be fixed .

    • David Washabaugh

      January 25, 2017 at 12:21 am

      Dave ……right on!

      I hope we don’t lose Bell and Timmons to free agency. The Rooneys are know not to come up with comparative dollars.

      Next Year!!!

  2. Dave B.

    January 23, 2017 at 10:35 am

    One last comment in regards to this game . This is from Post Gazette columnist Joe Starkey . When you read this , let it sink in .In six games dating to 2002, Brady has completed 171 of 239 passes for 2,147 yards, 21 touchdowns and no interceptions against the Steelers . I’ll leave it right there .

    • David Washabaugh

      January 25, 2017 at 12:14 am

      Dave no doubt about Bradys talent and record. However have you compared his with Bens this championship game? Ben wasn’t far off.
      We missed two passes and Ben threw 9 interceptions in nine games. We needed Bell for our groove or flow cause his 100 plus yard games successfully beat up the defense. Pittsburgh has always been a running team now we are passing more so we missed Green due to the flu. Man people can say what they want but winning 9 straight has to do alot with Tomlins coaching. Brady an exception and so accurate. We needed the intensity and blitzed till he was rushed and played man to man coverage not zone. We missed tackles NE back carried or defensive players for ten yards. We didn’t show up NE had and won.

  3. Dan P.

    January 24, 2017 at 11:10 am

    Under Tomlin this team will only rise to mediocre at best. it doesn’t matter who they draft. What a colossal waste of talent.

  4. David Washabaugh

    January 24, 2017 at 11:57 pm

    DAN I DISAGREE Tomlin has done a superb job. Perhaps the defensive coach needs replaced. We didn’t blitz NE as we should of. NE played us well with their hurry up offense. They picked up the momentum at that point. I totally agree zone coverage killed us we changed to late. The Defensive coach is held accountable for that. The offensive coach has done a good job not great job and not enough with trick plays. Ben needs to work hard off season on his accuratecy. If Bell was healthy we would of had the balance and worn down their defense giving our defense a rest as well as the motivation to play harder with intensity. We lacked intensity and it certainly wasn’t like the past 9 wins. Think about it we won 9 straight games and everyone would be praising Tomlin etc if we beat NE. Look at our stats whose the leader, Tomlin. Have you ever spent a week with Tomlin and the team to really know how he has developed the team?? The team respects him and are loyal as well. LOYALTY! !!

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