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Steelers lose to Patriots, 27-24

Posted Dec 17, 2017

The Steelers fought back, but came up short against the Patriots.

The Steelers lost to the New England Patriots, 27-24, after a last-second touchdown was overturned by the officials.

It appeared that Jesse James scored what could have been a game-winning 10-yard touchdown pass, but after reviewing the play the officials ruled he didn’t maintain possession.

Antonio Brown suffered a calf injury in the frist half, and never returned.

After opening the game with a 17-yard completion to Le’Veon Bell, the offense couldn’t go much further. Bell took it for a five-yard gain, but on the next play a holding call backed them up 10 yards. Bell took it for seven, but on third-and-eight Ben Roethlisberger couldn’t connect with Jesse James.

The Patriots moved the ball down the field on their opening drive, with Tom Brady engineering a six-play, 77-yard drive, that culminated in a one-yard touchdown run by Rex Burkhead for a 7-0 lead. The key play on the drive was a 43-yard pass from Brady to Brandin Cooks to the seven-yard line.

JuJu Smith-Schuster gave the offense good field position when he returned the ensuing kickoff 27 yards to the 31-yard line. Roethlisberger hit Bell for 13 yards, and Brown for five yards. Brown became the first player in NFL history with at least 100 catches in five consecutive seasons with that catch.

On third-and-four Roethlisberger went back to Brown for a 19-yard reception to move the chains. Two incompletions to Martavis Bryant set up a third-and-10, and Roethlisberger found Smith-Schuster for a 13-yard reception at the 18-yard line. The Steelers got right back into the game when Roethlisberger hit Eli Rogers for an 18-yard touchdown, tying the game at 7-7.

The defense stepped up huge on the next possession. Cameron Heyward sacked Brady for an eight-yard loss, and the Patriots couldn’t dig out of the hole, forcing a punt.

Roethlisberger went right back to work, hitting Smith-Schuster for a 17-yard gain. Bryant came up big with a 39-yard reception, but things took a turn after that. Brown was injured on an incompletion in the end zone, helped off the field by the athletic training staff. Roethlisberger was then sacked on the next play. Chris Boswell did what he has been doing all season, and came through with a 51-yard field goal to give the Steelers a 10-7 lead.

The Patriots came right back, though, tying the game with 9:04 to play in the second quarter after Stephen Gostkowski hit a 32-yard field goal, locking things up at 10-10.

Without Brown in the game, the offense didn’t falter on the next drive. Bell took it for 10 yards, and followed it with a six-yard run. On third-and-three Roethlisberger hit Smith-Schuster for six yards. Roethlisberger fumbled the snap on the next play for a loss of two yards. James Conner, giving Bell a quick breather, took it up the middle for 10 yards. On third-and-two Roethlisberger hit Bell for 13 yards. Roethlisberger was sacked for a three-yard loss, but then hit James for a six-yard gain. On third-and-seven Roethlisberger hit Bryant for 10 yards, and Bell took it for four yards. Bell had a huge hole for an eight-yard gain to the nine-yard line. Two more short runs by Bell, set the Steelers up with third-and-four from the four. Roethlisberger threw it up, and Bryant pulled in a one-handed grab for the score and the 17-10 halftime lead.

The Patriots got the ball to start the third quarter and moved it down the field. Brady took them on a 12-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a four-yard touchdown pass to Cooks. Gostkowski missed the extra point, pulling the Patriots to within one at, 17-16. The key play on the drive was a 10-yard pass from Brady to Rob Gronkowski on fourth-and-one. 

Bell kicked off the next drive with back-to-back big runs, one for 18 yards and another for 15 yards. But that is all they would get. Roethlisberger couldn’t connect with James, and Bell was held to no gain. On third-and-10 Bell couldn’t hold on to the ball, and they were forced to punt.

It would be the defense that would step up next. Vince Williams picked off Brady at the New England 35-yard line and returned it 13 yards to the 22-yard line. Bell took it for five yards, and followed with a four-yard run. On third down Roethlisberger hit Xavier Grimble for eight yards to the five-yard line. Bell looked stopped up the middle on the next snap, but bounced outside for a two-yard gain. Bell then just pushed his way up the middle for a three-yard touchdown, extending the lead to 24-16.

After moving the ball to start the next drive, penalties proved costly. A first-and-10 at the 38-yard line after Roethlisberger scrambled for a first-down quickly turned into a third-and-10 at the 28-yard line and the Steelers had to punt.

The defense was fired up on the next drive, holding the Patriots on third down when Bud Dupree sacked Brady for a seven-yard loss. The Patriots had to settle for a 46-yard field goal by Gostkowski, closing the gap to 24-19.

The Patriots forced a three-and-out, getting the ball right back.

The Steelers got the ball back with 34 seconds and Roethlisberger hit Smith-Schuster, who took off running for a 69-yard gain. Roethlisberger then hit James for what appeared to be a 10-yard touchdown, but the call was reversed, ruling that James didn’t have possession. On third down Roethlisberger was intercepted, and the Patriots took over with just five seconds remaining to run out the clock.

Notable: The Steelers got an emotional lift with Ryan Shazier at the game, watching from a suite. When he was shown on the scoreboard the crowd erupted, and he fired them up even more by waving a Terrible Towel.

A detailed look at today's scoring:

First Quarter: Steelers 0, Patriots 7
Scoring Play: Rex Burkhead one-yard touchdown run.
Scoring Summary: 6-77-3:11

First Quarter: Steelers 7, Patriots 7
Scoring Play: Ben Roethlisberger 18-yard touchdown pass to Eli Rogers
Scoring Summary: 8-69-3:28

Second Quarter: Steelers 10, Patriots 7
Scoring Play: Chris Boswell 51-yard field goal.
Scoring Summary: 9-43-4:57

Second Quarter: Steelers 10, Patriots 10
Scoring Play: Stephen Gostkowski 32-yard field goal.
Scoring Summary: 9-61-3:11

Second Quarter: Steelers 17, Patriots 10
Scoring Play: Ben Roethlisberger four-yard touchdown pass to Martavis Bryant.
Scoring Summary: 15-78-8:39

Third Quarter: Steelers 17, Patriots 16
Scoring Play: Tom Brady four-yard touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks. Extra point wide left.
Scoring Summary: 12-75-6:01

Third Quarter: Steelers 24, Patriots 16
Scoring Play: Le’Veon Bell three-yard touchdown run.
Scoring Summary: 5-22-2:58

Fourth Quarter: Steelers 24, Patriots 19
Scoring Play: Stephen Gostkowski 46-yard field goal.
Scoring Summary: 9-44-3:22

Fourth Quarter: Steelers 24, Patriots 19
Scoring Play: Stephen Gostkowski 46-yard field goal.
Scoring Summary: 9-44-3:22

Fourth Quarter: Steelers 24, Patriots 27
Scoring Play: Dion Lewis eight-yard touchdown run.
Scoring Summary: 5-77-1:10