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What was the game-changing moment in the Steelers loss to the Patriots?

The Steelers came up short in their home opener on Sunday. What was the biggest moment that led to the defeat?

NFL: New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers started off the 2022 season with a persevering overtime victory in Week 1 only to return home and fall to the Patriots in Week 2. After being an underdog at home to a team that was 0-1, it seems that the line was ultimately pretty close as the Steelers came up three points short.

But what was the biggest moment that sent the Steelers down the path to the loss?

With each win for the Steelers this season being where we hand out a game ball and look at the top individual performance, each loss we will take a look at what we will call the “game-changing moment” of the game. What was the individual play or a set of plays that ended up being the biggest contribution to the loss? While it does not necessarily come down to just one thing that keeps a team from winning, it also doesn’t mean that all the moments share equal blame.

Since there is no previous loss to go on, we can’t highlight the last game-changing moment just yet. But in weeks to come, that will be done here as well.

I will reiterate for everyone of the rules that it is individual plays or series that will be highlighted. Although it could be applicable, it will not be total performances as they are more in line for Jeff Hartman’s Winners and Losers article.

So here are the nominations in chronological order:

The 44-yard touchdown

With time winding down in the first half, the Patriots were facing a third down and three from the Steelers 44-yard line. If the Steelers were able to dig in and not give up the first down, it would either bring about a fourth down attempt or a punt. Instead, Mac Jones threw a ball down the right sideline to Nelson Agholor which appeared to be set for the arms of Steelers cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon. But rather than go up and get the ball, Witherspoon waited for the ball to drop into his arms as Agholor went up high and pulled the ball away and continued into the end zone. The play gave the Patriots a 10–3 lead going into halftime.

The dropped interception

On the Patriots second possession of the second half, they were nearing the midfield when Mac Jones threw a pass where the only player around was Steelers cornerback Cam Sutton. Having the ball come to him while he was on his knees, Sutton could not corral the easy interception which would have given the Steelers great field position and an advantage in the turnover category.

The muffed punt

Just after the missed interception, the Patriots were punting from their own 43-yard line. On a play that appears to only have 10 players on the field for the Steelers as one of the gunners for the Patriots have a free run down the field, Gunner Olszewski called for a fair catch but allowed the ball to hit off his face mask and the Patriots were waiting patiently for the recovery. A penalty on the play also added half the distance to the goal and gave the Patriots the ball at the 10-yard line where they ultimately scored three plays later.

The last two drives being 3 & out

On the first play the fourth quarter, the Steelers scored a touchdown to Pat Freiermuth and a two-point conversion to Diontae Johnson to cut the game to three points. After stopping the Patriots once they moved the ball across midfield, the Steelers received the ball at their own 10-yard line. Gaining only 4 yards on three plays they were forced to punt. Even after the Patriots were held to their own three and out as they started at midfield, the Steelers once again got the ball on a touch back at their own 20-yard line. But with three plays only gaining 8 yards, the Steelers once again punted in what would be their final offensive possession of the game.

Giving up 4 first downs to end the game

After receiving the ball with just over 6:30 remaining in the game, the Patriots were able to overcome an offensive holding penalty and gain a first down to keep the drive alive. In all, the Patriots ended up converting four first downs to kill the clock and end the game in victory formation.

So what do you think? What was the biggest moment that had the most effect on the Steelers loss this week? Make sure you vote in the poll as this is how the winner (which is ultimately the loser) will be determined. And of course, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.


What was the game-changing moment in the Steelers loss to the Patriots in Week 2?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    The 44-yard touchdown
    (150 votes)
  • 9%
    The dropped interception
    (125 votes)
  • 58%
    The muffed punt
    (734 votes)
  • 15%
    The last two drives being 3 & out
    (192 votes)
  • 4%
    Giving up 4 first downs to end the game
    (60 votes)
1261 votes total Vote Now