The Pittsburgh Steelers hosted the New England Patriots to open up the NFL’s Week 14 game slate on Thursday Night Football — their second consecutive game losing to a 2-10 team coming off a loss to the Cardinals in Week 13.
After winning the opening coin toss, the Steelers elected to defer, and the Patriots received the opening kickoff.
Right off the bat, it was a nightmare situation for the Steelers on defense, however, as the Patriots marched 75 yards down the field to score their first touchdown of the day — an 11-yard pass from Patriots quarterback Bailey Zappe to running back Ezekiel Elliott. The Steelers, meanwhile, responded on the following drive with a field goal of their own to make it 3-7, Patriots before trading off punts for the next three drives. After that... things went downhill — fast.
Mitch Trubisky threw an interception on the Steelers’ third offensive drive of the game, which was returned for 32 yards to Pittsburgh’s 11-yard line to set up the Patriots’ second score of the day — an eight-yard touchdown from Zappe to tight Hunter Henry. Patriots maintain their lead, 14-3.
Once again, the Steelers and Patriots traded punts over the next three drives... before the Patriots scored their third touchdown of the day — ANOTHER score from Zappe to Henry on the back of a 58-yard drive. Suddenly, the Patriots found themselves up 21-3 for their second game scoring more than 20 points this season.
The boo birds were out and about, chanting for now-backup quarterback Mason Rudolph to enter the game. It wasn’t Rudolph who came out on the next drive, however; it was Trubisky, who executed a 75-yard touchdown drive with a 25-yard pass to Diontae Johnson in the end zone for his third touchdown of the season.
The second half opened up with yet another string of three back-to-back-to-back punts. The Steelers broke the punt streak with an interception from Mycal Walker on a tipped pass targeting former Steeler JuJu Smith-Schuster. Though they weren’t able to capitalize on the turnover for any points, going for it on fourth down instead of kicking the field goal (which would wind up being their downfall in this game). Steelers remain down 21-10... but not for long.
The Steelers scored their final touchdown (and the final points) of the game with 13:23 left in the third quarter. After a blocked punt, the Steelers got the ball at the NE 26, which they managed to drive down to the 1-yard line and convert for a quarterback sneak with Mitch Trubisky. The Steelers make it 21-18 but are unable to capitalize on any time left in the game — particularly without timeouts left in their pocket to close out the game.
The Steelers fall to 7-6...