The Pittsburgh Steelers had waited a long time for a chance to play the New England Patriots in the playoffs. The last time the black and gold faced Tom Brady and the boys was in 2004, Ben Roethlisberger’s rookie season, and they beat the top-seeded Steelers to advance to the Super Bowl.
This game was in Foxorough, and the Patriots won the opening coin toss and elected to receive the football. They wasted little time putting points on the board as Tom Brady went 4-for-5 en route to a Stephen Gostkowski chip shot field goal to give New England an early 3-0 lead.
After two Pittsburgh drives failed to gain nothing more than one first down, the New England no-huddle offense wore down the Pittsburgh defense as Brady hit Chris Hogan for a touchdown to give the Patriots a 10-0 lead. On the Steelers’ next drive, they were able to move the ball with relative ease, and score their first red-zone touchdown in two weeks as DeAngelo Williams punched the ball into the endzone for the score. Chris Boswell missed the point after, making the score 10-6.
Shortly after receiving the ball, Tom Brady continued to find Hogan early and often, and the big strike in the drive was a flea flicker for a touchdown to give the Patriots a 17-6 lead. However, Pittsburgh took their next possession and drove down the field, but after what looked to be a Jesse James touchdown was overturned, Pittsburgh was unable to score from the one foot line and settled for a Boswell field goal, making the score 17-9 going into the half.
After the Steelers failed to gain a first down to start the second half, New England took their first drive of the third quarter, and due to some questionable penalty calls, were able to move into Gostkowski’s field goal range. His 47-yard field goal added to New England’s lead, 20-9.
While Pittsburgh had hopes of climbing back into the game in the second half, the Patriots had other plans. Thanks to a LeGarrette Blount touchdown, followed by an Eli Rogers fumble, Brady’s throw to Julien Edelman gave New England a quick 13 points, to make the score 33-9 in the fourth quarter.
The Steelers scored just their second touchdown of the game when Roethlsberger hit Cobi Hamilton for a garbage time touchdown. They were successful on the two point conversion to make the score 36-17.
After the touchdown, the Steelers season ended at the hands of Brady again. Bill Belichick and company continue to dominate Mike Tomlin, at home or on the road, and will advance to Super Bowl 51 to play the Atlanta Falcons in Houston.
As for the Steelers, their 9-game winning streak ends, and a long offseason begins with the likes of James Harrison and Lawrence Timmons’ future in the air or the future. However, the team will have 6 months to chew on this defeat after being so close, and falling so flat, on the AFC’s biggest stage.