The Pittsburgh Steelers had their chances against the New England Patriots on Thursday night to start the NFL regular season, but the mistakes made turned out to be too much to endure for a team who needed a near-perfect performance to beat Tom Brady and company.
Not all the news was bad for the Steelers, as some put together great performances on Thursday night. Let's take a look at who was dubbed a 'winner' or 'loser' following the team's 28-21 loss to the Patriots in Foxborough.
DeAngelo Williams - The Steelers brought Williams in as a free agent to fill the void left by Le'Veon Bell during his absence due to suspension, and he proved why he's more than capable of filling those shoes. Williams rushed for 127 yards on 21 carries for an astonishing 6.0 yards per carry. He was a huge bright spot for the Steelers on a rather disappointing night
Offensive Line - Yes, Ben Roethlisberger was sacked two times for -13 yards, but the offensive line paved the way for DeAngelo Williams and gave Roethlisberger more than ample time to make plays through the air. The offensive line looked tremendous, even without their All-Pro captain Maurkice Pouncey.
Antonio Brown - Just another day and another game with nine catches for 133 yards and a touchdown. Brown was targeted 11 times and made plays every time they called his number. It gets repetitive, but never gets old. Brown is the best wide receiver in the NFL.
Josh Scobee - Scobee's two missed field goals were absolutely maddening for the fan base and the team as it squandered opportunities for the Steelers to put points on the board. The Steelers needed to play a near-perfect game, and two missed field goals are as bad as turning the football over; maybe worse because it takes points off of the board. Scobee didn't get off to a good start in his first regular season game in a black-and-gold uniform.
Steelers Secondary - The Steelers had one pass defensed, and that was a batted pass by Lawrence Timmons at the line of scrimmage. The Steelers' secondary was routinely abused by Julian Edelman, who worked the underneath routes and caused the Steelers to overpursue and miss tackles. The Steelers' secondary is a work in progress, but it wasn't a good start for a unit still searching for answers.
Darrius Heyward-Bey - It's difficult to put Heyward-Bey in this category because, after all, he did have four catches for 58 yards, but some mistakes are bigger than others. Heyward-Bey's might-have-been touchdown reception was negated by the fact his right foot was out-of-bounds with no defenders near him at the time. Heyward-Bey had a decent showing for his first significant playing time since his stint with the Raiders, but if he wants to fill the void left by Martavis Bryant, he needs to cash in on every opportunity.