NFL Game Summary - New England at Pittsburgh|
(Sunday, November 14th)
Final Score: New England 39, Pittsburgh 26
Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Tom Brady threw for a season-high 350 yards
with three touchdowns to Rob Gronkowski, as the New England Patriots solved
the Pittsburgh defense in a 39-26 victory at Heinz Field.
Gronkowski, a rookie, finished with five catches for 72 yards in the biggest
performance of his young career. He entered the game with 14 catches for 148
yards and three scores through his first eight contests.
Brady completed 30-of-43 passes and ran for a score as the Patriots (7-2) kept
pace with the New York Jets for the AFC East lead. The Jets pulled out an
overtime win at Cleveland on Sunday, thanks to a last-minute touchdown, to
improve to 7-2.
"That was an emotional win for us," Brady said. "It's always fun to come in
here and play well. We know what kind of team they have, what they're all
about. I thought we showed what we're all about, too."
Ben Roethlisberger passed for a season-high 387 yards and three touchdowns on
30-of-49 completions. But he also had his one interception returned for a
touchdown, as the Steelers (6-3) lost for a second time in three games.
The Steelers hadn't allowed 39 points since their 41-27 loss to New England in
the AFC Championship Game at the end of the 2004 season.
"You've got to give them credit. I don't think they did anything to confuse us
or anything like that. I think they just flat-out beat us," Roethlisberger
said. "Truth be told, I think we got a good old-fashioned butt whooping, and
you never like it when it's at home."
Pittsburgh had to play much of the game without Hines Ward, who suffered a
concussion late in the first quarter. He remained in uniform on the sideline
and kept loose on a training bike, but did not enter as he was being
New England held a 10-3 lead at the break, and took control with two scores in
the third quarter.
On the period's opening possession, the Patriots moved 78 yards in 10 plays,
scoring on a 2nd-and-goal from the nine. Brady faked a handoff and sent a
pass to the right flat for Gronkowski, who ran free into the end zone.
Jeff Reed pushed a 26-yard field goal to the right with under four minutes
left in the quarter, and New England took advantage of the opportunity to
widen its lead. The Patriots didn't face a third down on the 80-yard drive,
which Brady ended with a three-yard plunge up the middle.
He planted the ball on the goal line as he dove forward, and Steelers safety
Troy Polamalu tried to push him away. But it was definitely a touchdown, and
Brady spiked the ball emphatically after getting back to his feet.
The extra point was wide right, though, leaving the Patriots' lead at 23-3.
Roethlisberger countered with a six-yard TD pass to Emmanuel Sanders, and the
Steelers defense forced a punt. But on the second play of the ensuing
Pittsburgh drive, James Sanders intercepted Roethlisberger and ran 32 yards
into the end zone. A failed two-point conversion kept it a 29-10 game with
The high-scoring fourth continued, as the Steelers started near midfield
thanks to a long kick return by Emmanuel Sanders. The five-play drive ended on
Roethlisberger's 15-yard pass to Mike Wallace, and Mewelde Moore's two-point
conversion run got the Steelers within 29-18.
There was a little under seven minutes left at that point, but the Patriots
put an enormous dent in Pittsburgh's comeback hopes with another touchdown.
Brady's 25-yard strike to Gronkowski had New England ahead by 18 with 4:23 on
Roethlisberger threw a 33-yard touchdown to Wallace with about three minutes
left, and Moore ran for another two-point conversion after the Steelers got a
second chance, thanks to a Patriots penalty.
But Shayne Graham kicked a 36-yarder just inside the two-minute warning to
secure the outcome.
The Patriots scored on their first touch, marching down the field on a series
of mostly first-down plays. The Steelers forced New England into a 3rd-and-9
at the Pittsburgh 19, but Brady found Gronkowski over the middle for a
touchdown, making it 7-0 a little more than five minutes into the game.
Pittsburgh went backward on its ensuing drive -- an offensive holding penalty
and two sacks put the Steelers in a 4th-and-37 -- allowing the Patriots to get
the ball at their own 42.
New England advanced to the red zone before a chop block penalty set the
Patriots back, and they settled for a 31-yard field goal by Graham.
On the second-to-last play of the quarter, Ward was hit after attempting to
catch a short pass over the middle and his head appeared to tilt awkwardly to
the side. He lay on the field for a moment before leaving the field under his
The Steelers got on the board in the second period at the end of a long drive.
They held the ball for more than five minutes and had several chances for a
But on 2nd-and-7 from the New England eight-yard line, Wallace couldn't hang
on to Roethlisberger's pass in the end zone. A defensive offside penalty on
the next play gave the Steelers a 3rd-and-3 from the four, but
Roethlisberger's throw to Antwaan Randle El was incomplete, and Reed kicked a
22-yarder with 5:08 left.
New England was penalized 10 times for 113 yards...The Patriots totaled 453
yards...BenJarvus Green-Ellis led New England with 87 yards on 18
carries...Wallace finished with eight catches for 136 yards...Wes Welker
recorded team highs of eight receptions and 89 yards for the Patriots.
11/15 01:58:16 ET