Final thoughts: A difference of opinion


Here are four final thoughts on the 2015 season opener in Foxborough.

OFF TARGET: The Steelers kicked seven field goals in seven tries in the preseason despite having three kickers attempt field goals in the preseason.

Josh Scobee converted the final two of those, but missed his first two attempts in a regular-season game with the Steelers (from 44 and 46 yards).

"Just not a good night," Scobee assessed. "I expect better of myself. First game, you want to get off to a good start and when you don't it's frustrating."


INCHES FROM A TD:** Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey hauled in a pass in the end zone on second-and-5 from the New England 26-yard line in the final minute of the first half but was unable to keep his right foot inbounds.

The Steelers wound up settling for a field goal and a 14-3 halftime deficit.

"I gotta be more field-aware," Heyward-Bey said. "Just gotta make sure I keep my foot in so we can get the score."

RADIO FREE NEW ENGLAND: Tomlin said Steelers coaches had issues throughout the first two quarters when trying to communicate with one another over their headsets.

"That's always the case," he said.

Always at Gillette Stadium?

"Yes," Tomlin said. "We were listening to the Patriots' radio broadcast for the majority of the first half on our headsets, coach to coach. I'm not indicating anything; I'm telling you what happened. We let the league officials on site handle it, is what we do."

The NFL issued a statement regarding the communication issue:

"In the first quarter of tonight's game, the Pittsburgh coaches experienced interference in their headset caused by a stadium power infrastructure issue, which was exacerbated by the inclement weather. The coaches' communications equipment, including the headsets, is provided by the NFL for both clubs use on game day. Once the power issue was addressed, the equipment functioned properly with no additional issues."

Tomlin said the situation was resolved to the Steelers' satisfaction "eventually."


DIFFERENCE OF OPINION:** Roethlisberger disagreed with a false start penalty against left tackle Kelvin Beachum prior to a third-and-goal snap from the New England 1 early in the fourth quarter with the Patriots leading, 21-11. The Patriots' defensive line shifted and Beachum and Alejandro Villanueva, who had reported eligible on the play, fired off the line early.

"In my years of playing, a defensive (lineman) can't bark stuff or move in the middle of a cadence," Roethlisberger said. "The ref (Carl Cheffers) said he didn't go in the neutral zone. I wasn't arguing that part. I was arguing the fact he shifted in the middle of a cadence. I thought there was a rule against that. Maybe there isn't, maybe it's an unwritten rule, I don't really know.

"That's what I was more upset about. We saw it on film that the Patriots do that. They jump or shift and slide, do stuff on the goal line knowing it's an itchy-trigger-finger-type down."

Pro Football reported the shifting is legal as long as the defense doesn't cross the line of scrimmage.

Beachum's take: "It doesn't matter; we have to find a way to get in the end zone no matter what they do. That's not the issue, it's the fact we didn't get it in the end zone."

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