Pats Stun Pittsburgh and Steal Win

With 8 minutes left in the game, the Pats were down by eight points, and I was losing hope.  I don’t know how they won.  They had a nice drive going, but Pats QB Tom Brady was sacked, and they were held to a field goal.  Then they took a 27-24 lead in a 2-minute drill by scoring a TD and a 2-point conversion.  But they left 1-minute for the Steelers.  They almost blew it.  On the first play with 52 seconds left, the Pats couldn’t get their hands on Steelers WR Juju Smith-Schuster on a short pass over the middle as he escaped tacklers and scurried down the field for 69 yards.  On the next play, TE Jesse James scored a TD on a pass up the middle diving into the end zone.  But video replay reversed the call.  2 plays later with no timeouts left and about 15 seconds left, Big Ben faked the spike and then tried to force a pass up the middle.  Eric Rowe deflected it right into the hands of Harmon, stunning the Steelers, and stealing the win

The Patriots won in comeback fashion in what was arguably the game of the year, as the Pats beat Pittsburgh 27-24.  You could argue that there was no tangible evidence to overturn the Steelers last-minute touchdown but the resilience the Pats showed leading up to the play, they deserved a call in their favor.  It all started on New England’s first drive.

QB Tom Brady and WR Brandin Cooks tried to set the tone early as Brady threw Cooks a 43-yard pass that brought the Patriots into the red zone within the first five minutes of the game.  RB Rex Burkhead ran in for the TD and the Pats took the early 7-0 lead.

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But the Steelers weren’t about to let New England win easy.  Using the Patriots’ defensive weaknesses to their advantage, they marched down the field and responded with an 18 yard TD of their own, tying the game at 7.

The Steelers didn’t stop there.  In the next drive, their defense thrived, sacking Tom Brady and forcing them to punt.  Led by a 39-yard Martavis Bryant reception, they had another big drive following that.  But after Bryant’s nice catch, the Pats were at least able to hold Pittsburgh to a field goal.  It was now 10-7 Steelers as Chris Boswell made a 51-yard field goal.  But Steelers superstar WR Antonio Brown had hurt his calf, and he was taken to the hospital.

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The Pats countered with another big play drive, this time a 31-yard catch by Pats TE Rob Gronkowski and the Pats were able to tie it up again at 10.   This was just one of two catches Gronk made in the 1st half, but he made a huge impact in the 2nd half.  But before the half, the Steelers were able to score 1 more TD, while also preventing a Patriots double score opportunity as their drive burned most of the 2nd quarter clock.  The Steelers clock-eating drives were led by star RB Le’Veon Bell, who dominated against the depleted Pats front seven.  They did not slow down even with Brown out of the game.  The Pats would get the ball in the 2nd half but would have to do so without RB Rex Burkhead who was knocked out of the game with a knee injury.

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The Pats began the 2nd half with a strong drive as Brandin Cooks scored a touchdown after Gronk began to make a bigger impact.  But they missed the extra point which put them down by one 17-16.  After they shut the Steelers down, the Pats were ready to score again.  But Tom Brady was intercepted early in the drive.  Le’Veon Bell led the Steelers into the end zone quickly, and the Pats were now down by eight, 24-16.

As the 4th quarter began, the Steelers had the ball, and they began to eat up a lot of time as they tried to hold off the Patriots.  They held onto the ball for the first 7 minutes of the 4th quarter, leaving the Pats down by eight with just 8 minutes to come back.  In their first drive of the 4th quarter, they started off strong.  Gronk almost caught a 23-yard pass and the Steelers were penalized for clear pass interference.  However, Brady got sacked on third down after a pair of incompletions, and they were held to a field goal.

It wasn’t over though.  The Pats shut down the Steelers on the next drive with the only 3 and out for either team and got the ball back with a little over two minutes to go.  If they could successfully complete this 2-minute drill for a TD, they could secure a victory.  They marched down the field, as Gronk caught three straight passes for a total of 69 yards.  You could argue that his final catch was almost as good as WR Julian Edelman’s catch in Super Bowl LI.  Gronk just barely saved the ball before it hit the ground.

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RB Dion Lewis ran it in for the touchdown, but New England scored too fast going 77 yards in 1:10.  They needed to go for the 2-point conversion to take a 3-point lead and at the very least hold Pittsburgh to a field goal and head into overtime.  Brady tossed it to Gronk for the conversion.  Gronk finished the 2nd half with 7 receptions for 135 yards, making a huge impact.  The Steelers had a little under a minute to respond.

The Steelers were confident that they could still win it, and Big Ben completed one 69-yard pass to WR JuJu Smith-Schuster.  As the Pats couldn’t get their hands on Smith-Schuster, the Steelers were able to do what the Pats did in three passes in just one big play.  The Steelers then scored with what was ruled a touchdown by TE Jesse James.  But the call was reversed, giving hope to all the Patriots fans out there, including me.  Two plays later, Big Ben tried to throw a TD again, but this time, he was picked off by Duron Harmon!  The Pats had done it again!

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A couple minutes earlier, I had thought the Pats were done, and I was hoping they could hold on to the 3rd seed.  But now they lead the AFC after a stunning comeback victory.

There were two huge plays that secured the Pats their current #1 seed edge showing #1 seed confidence under tough road pressure in Pittsburgh.  Without the 2-point conversion, Pittsburgh would’ve likely won on a field goal after Smith-Schuster’s catch and run play.  The Pats held on with a great goal-line interception by Harmon.  The Pats lead the league in goal-line stops and today’s play was arguably the most clutch of the year.

This game reminded me of Super Bowl XLIX.  The Pats won in a comeback, a lot of points were scored late in the game, and the Pats secured victory with an interception after the opposing team almost scored.  The one major difference was the time left on the clock.  Super Bowl XLIX ended with a bad coaching decision, but in this game, Big Ben made the mistake forcing a pass instead of throwing it away to give his team a shot in overtime with a short field goal.

With this win, the Pats clinch the division and take the AFC lead.  They control their own destiny and will secure the #1 seed with 2 division wins at home.  Can they do it?

 

 

‘Skins Offense Fails, Patriots Proceed To Victory Over Redskins

The Patriots’ offense didn’t put up the monster numbers experts were expecting, but what they did on defense was enough to demolish the Redskins 27-10. It started with a quick drive. The Pats marched down the field and fired to Edelman for a touchdown, even though his lip bled after.

Then, they tried for a surprise onside kick, and…., THEY GOT IT!!!! But Tom Brady ot intercepted off. He was heading for the end zone, but Brady made up for what he’d done by tackling the guy. But thirty seconds later it didn’t matter. Cousins threw to Garcon, and it bounces off his hands, and Logan Ryan came out with it!!!! The Pats ran it more this time. Not just to Dion Lewis, but also to LeGarrette Blount. It was Blount Force Trauma who got the touchdown. 14-0 Patriots.

The Patriots nearly had another solid drive followed by a touchdown, but they struggled in the red zone, and had to settle for a field goal.

The Redskins, however, weren’t able to get it going. It was consecutive 3 and outs, and there were more incomplete passes than completions. It was a nightmare for Kirk Cousins and his offense. Until the Patriots rush defense slacked off a bit, allowing rookie running back Matt Jones to bull through them. But they still had good consistency in the red zone, forcing Washington to also settle on a field goal. Dustin Hopkins, the Redskins kicker, got it, and it was 17-3.

The rest of the half was mostly defense, causing that to be the halftime score. But the offenses picked it back up in the 2nd half. At least later in it. The Pats rush defense had a big play finally, as Rob Ninkovich almost immediately picked up Matt Jones’ fumble, forced by Alan Branch. They then charged to Julian Edelman for 24 yards. Blount Force Trauma then carried the team to the red zone, but they yet again struggled there, and got the field goal. 20-3 Pats.

After a very lazy 3rd quarter, the Pats ran a very long drive that stretched from the end of the 3rd to a few minutes into the fourth. During the snooze-a-thon, an alarming injury took place though. Dion Lewis hurt his knee. It has been announced that he will go through MRI for a possible torn MCL. Brandon Bolden joined Blount to take his place. Blount continued to bull through the banged up Redskins defense, but it was Bolden who got the touchdown, when Blount sat down for a little rest.

Besides Duron Harmon’s additional knee injury, it was a quiet fourth quarter until Kirk Cousins fired to Jordan Reed for a late TD. But Jimmy Garroppollo came in, and all he had to do is take a knee, and New England held on. Despite slight offensive struggles and major injuries to Lewis, Harmon and Vollmer, the Pats held on to defeat the Redskins. The Pats are now 8-0 on their season long “Revenge Tour”. They face the New York Giants at MetLife stadium. Even though the Giants are only okay, they have been known to beat us, from regular season to super bowl, even preseason, if we prepare properly, we can do it and we know it!!! As Belichick would say, “We’re on to the Giants.”

Star Of The Game

I am starting a feature in all Pats recaps where I select a player that had a big day to showcase.  I have provided an image of the player.  He will always be a Patriots player, win or lose.

Star Of The Game: LeGarrette Blount
Star Of The Game: LeGarrette Blount

BLOUNT FORCE TRAUMA!!!  LeGarrette Blount put up monster stats today.  He had 29 rushes for 129 yards and a touchdown.  Blount had drives where he continuously ran for first downs, and bulled through the defense when he did.  LeGarrette Blount really proved himself as the star and impact player of today’s game, and especially because Lewis got hurt, and Brady’s running it more.  He has a bright future because of these reasons as well, which my stars of the game will have in the future.

FUN FACT

The Patriots have scored and 31 straight quarters.  Nobody has done it since 2009.  Only the Colts and Ramms have done it before, and 31 is the record.  If the score in the 1st quarter at New York, they will hold the record.

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!!!