Gronk Shows Up Strong, Pats Defeat Steelers

The Patriots beat the Steelers 28-21 on opening night Thursday.  Rob Gronkowski scored a whopping three touchdowns while Scott Chandler scored the 4th.  The first quarter was quiet.  No scoring, lots of defense.  But one thing I saw right away was the Pats’s extensive usage of running back Dion Lewis, who hadn’t played since the 2013 season.  With Le’Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant suspended along with starter Blount, backup RB Cadet was inactive, Markus Wheaton and DeAngelo Williams also got to see the ball a lot, plus Heath Miller, Steelers tight end.

In the 2nd quarter, the Pats offense dominated.  Rob Gronkowski scored two touchdowns, and had some great additional catches this quarter.  He makes it look easy.  Meanwhile, the Steelers hadn’t scored TDs, and kicker Josh Scobee isn’t helping by missing the first two field goal attempts.  He could get cut for Nick Novak or Shayne Graham this week!  I wouldn’t be shocked if they picked up Novak and dropped Scobee, who could return to the Jags, Saints or Chargers, or remain a free agent because of developing replacement kickers better.  However, Scobee scored a field goal late in the quarter.  At halftime, it was 14-3 Patriots.

In the 3rd, the Pats marched down the field on their first drive, and Scott Chandler got the TD on 2nd and goal.  But some very long plays by DeAngelo Williams, Markus Wheaton and Antonio Brown led to a Williams touchdown.  Wheaton got a 2 point conversion to help catch up.  21-11.  The Steelers almost did it again after the Pats punted away.  Slowly, the Steelers moved along, reaching the 4th quarter on the way.  When they reached 4th & goal near the end zone, Josh Scobee kicked the field goal.  21-14.

For the first drive of the 4th, the Pats scored again.  A Gronk 52 yard reception led them to the Steelers’ side of the field.  Then a crazy play happened.  Dion Lewis caught a pass, fumbled, and Rob Gronkowski made it a touchdown, but it got reversed.  On third down, they passed to Gronk wide open for TD 3, technically TD 4.  Two drives later, the Steelers had the ball, and Duron Harmon intercepted it, even with Fletcher there.  Harmon took the glory.  On the Steelers next drive, they marched down the field, passing to Brown, eventually for a touchdown.  Butler almost intercepted it again, but it didn’t matter.  Either way, the Pats won, 28-21.

They are 1-0 on the season, Brady has most QB wins for a team, passing Brett Favre in the rankings tonight.  They are also 4-0 on opening night.  As Belichick would say, “We’re on to Buffalo.”  Nice win.  Follow my picks from my last post this Sunday, and read my recap of next Sunday’s game.  GO PATS!!!

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