Xtra Points

Steelers drop season opener, 33-3

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. _ It wasn’t the opening night the Steelers had hoped for as they fell to the New England Patriots, 33-3, on a night where nothing went right.

The offense couldn’t get in the end zone, while the defense wasn’t able to stop Tom Brady and company.

The Patriots drew first blood on their second possession.

Quarterback Tom Brady went 3-for-4 passing for 69 yards on the seven-play, 82-yard march in 3:08, including a 20-yard catch-and-run touchdown to wide receiver Josh Gordon. The Patriots overcame a first-and-20 from the New England 25-yard line following an offensive pass interference penalty. Consecutive carries by running back James White following the penalty set up a third-and-5, which Brady converted by hitting wide receiver Phillip Dorsett for 8.

The big play was a backwards pass from Brady to wide receiver Julian Edelman, who then threw back across the field to White, who got down the far sideline for a 32-yard gain to the Steelers’ 20.

Gordon scored on the next snap.

New England increased its advantage to 10-0 on a 25-yard field goal by kicker Stephen Gostkowski with 11:52 left in the second quarter.

New England’s 12-play, 55-yard drive in 5:24 achieved a first-and-goal at the Steelers’ 9, but the defense allowed only 2 yards on the next three snaps.

Brady drove the Pats again late in the second quarter and culminated a six-play, 80-yard drive in 3:09 with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Dorsett. Brady’s second touchdown pass of the night directly followed 16- and 24-yard connections to Edelman.

Gostkowski added a 41-yard field goal 17 seconds prior to halftime that upped the New England lead to 20-0.

Game action photos from the Steelers' Week 1 game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium

The Steelers twice failed to convert third-and-1s in the second quarter (one on an inside rush by running back James Conner and one on a pitch to Conner).

They were also denied on fourth-and-1 from the Patriots’ 47 just inside the first half’s two-minute warning (wide receiver Donte Moncrief couldn’t hang on to a short pass from Roethlisberger with safety Patrick Chung defending).

The Patriots had 15 first downs to the Steelers’ four and out-gained the Steelers, 275-87, in the first two quarters.

The Steelers drove 74 yards on 11 plays in 4:43 on the opening possession of the second half but wound up settling for a 19-yard field goal by kicker Chris Boswell on fourth-and-goal from the Patriots’ 1.

The big play on the drive was a 45-yard connection from Roethlisberger to wide receiver James Washington on third-and-10 from the Steelers’ 37. It was the Steelers’ second third-down conversion in seven attempts (the Pats converted five of their first nine third-down tries).

New England responded with a 58-yard touchdown pass from Brady to Dorsett with 8:05 left in the third quarter.

Gostkowski’s third field goal, a 35-yard effort, made it 30-3 with 13 seconds left in the third quarter. A Brady-to-Gordon 44-yard hookup pushed the ball from the Patriots’ 14 to the Steelers’ 42. New England finished the drive with points for the second time in two third-quarter possessions.

The Patriots didn’t stop there. Even on a drive where they were penalized twice for offensive holding, they still were able to put points on the board. Gostkowski hit a 39-yard field goal, extending the lead to 33-3.

A late drive by the Steelers was thwarted when Ben Roethlisberger’s pass for James Washington in the end zone was intercepted by Devin McCourty.

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