All season, the Steelers' offense was in question. They were having difficulty running the ball and Ben wasn't sharp all that often. Not yesterday. Yesterday, Le'Veon Bell ran for 74 important yards and Ben was hitting receivers all over the field, highlighting a consistent performance from Antonio Brown and a hat trick for Jerricho Cotchery. All together, the offense hung up 31 points, which is enough to win with any semblance of a defense.
Too bad the defense got torched for a franchise-history-worst 600 yards and 55 points. I'm not sure I have words for that. Recap after the jump.
Felix Jones opens the game with a solid kick return to the 40. Le'Veon Bell gets a first down. Emmanuel Sanders catches a screen pass that isn't well-blocked, so he reverses his field and gets an 8-yard gain on the opposite side on the field.
The Patriots defend well down the field and give Rob Ninkovich the .3 seconds he needs to get around Marcus Gilbert and hit Big Ben. The ball comes out and the Pats fall on it. They do nothing with it and punt.
You know Ben Roethlisberger isn't all that hurt when he makes sure to visibly wince often on his way onto the field. A bunch of nothing happens and the Steelers punt it right back.
Oh yeah, we signed a new punter. Yawn.
Rob Gronkowski picks up a first down and roofies some girl at a bar. Logan Mankins takes it back with a clipping penalty. Lawrence Timmons drives a shoulder into Brady's side and doesn't get flagged for it.
What's going on?
Gronkowski makes a couple more big catches and probably celebrates by groping a high school girl or something. The Steelers clamp down at the goal line and the Patriots turn it over on downs.
From the 1, Gilbert false starts because he is terrible. Half-yard penalty. Ben airs it out towards Antonio Brown. He's double covered and the ball is terribly underthrown. Picked off. Brady immediately hits Danny Amendola for a touchdown. 7-0.
At least you aren't Rob Gronkowski.
Jerricho Cotchery gets a first down. Bell picks up another, then gets called for a chop block. Ben gets dropped again, but holds onto the football this time. His next pass goes behind Bell's head, and facing a 3rd & 30, Bell takes a screen pass and turns it upfield for 29 and a half yards to set up 4th & inches.
Bell plunges into the pile. They bring out the chains and give him the first down. Heath Miller makes a catch and the offense sees another 4th & inches. Bell isn't so lucky on his second try and the Patriots take over again. Gronkowski scores. 14-0.
It's like if you took Jeff Reed and made him bigger and more douchey.
Polamalu gets flagged for a head-to-head hit. Weak call.
Ben finds Sanders down the left sideline. That kick-starts the offense and they move down the field, but a few off-target passes in the red zone lead to a field goal. 14-3.
Nobody even thinks about covering Danny Amendola on the next drive. Giant gain for the Patriots. Stevan Ridley can't find running room and Cam Heyward gets what feels like his first career sack. Stephen Gostkowski extends the Patriots' lead to two touchdowns again. 17-3.
Heath Miller starts the next drive with a reception for a first down. Jonathan Dwyer checks in and finds a hole to the left. Devin McCourty embarrasses himself not making the tackle, but Dwyer drifts out of bounds. Ben winds up and lofts a ball downfield. Antonio Brown beats his man clean for the touchdown. 17-10.
Boy it's nice having him around to do stuff. What a guy.
Ben's 200th TD pass. He apparently points at Phil Simms up in the press box because the NFL is now the WWE.
Troy Polamalu gets called for interference. Next play, Gronkowski throws a fit at the back judge and gets another pass interference call in the end zone. Ridley scores. 24-10.
Does anyone else just want to not watch football anymore when the Patriots are playing?
Amendola beats Shamarko Thomas on a short out route. Of note: Shamarko Thomas is getting on the field. Polamalu forces a fumble and LaMarr Woodley picks it up. As with any turnover, it goes to review. Walt Coleman upholds the call.
Not really relevant, just wanted to post this gif.
Bell runs behind Fernando Velasco with a screen pass for a decent gain. Ben hands off to Bell again and he finds a big hole to the right. Ninkovich gets dinged up in there somewhere. Ben looks around, fires down the middle, and Jerricho Cotchery jumps up to make the catch in the end zone. 24-17.
Remember when we all hated him in like Week 3?
The Patriots go back to work on offense. Brady completes a pass under some heavy pressure from Woodley and Heyward. It's not enough for a first down, and the Patriots go three-and-out. They punt for the final time.
Antonio Brown runs backwards on the punt return, but still manages to turn it into a good return, somehow! Still, running backwards is not a great idea most times.
Le'Veon Bell picks up 20 on an outside run. Heath Miller runs a Hines-Ward-style route to pick up another first down. Some Pats DB heads off the field with a hand injury. Ben floats a ball over some dude softly into Jerricho Cotchery's hands for another TD to knot it up. 24-24.
Ryan Clark torpedos Rob Gronkowski and he limps off.
Could have at least broken his femur or something, man.
Boo Radley keeps finding room to run. Amendola pulls in another deep throw. Brady gets swarmed in the pocket and goes down in a rare moment of ineptitude from the Patriots' line. Stephen Gotskowski kicks another field goal. 27-24.
Emmanuel Sanders drops a ball he needs to not drop. Ben throws too high for Heath and Mat McBriar comes back on to punt. That cheap knock off Wes Welker runs it back to around the original line of scrimmage.
Vince Williams is helped off the field. Aaron Dobson scores. 34-24.
Isaac Sopoaga blocks a pass. Antonio Brown gets double-covered and another pass is batted away. That obnoxious fog horn goes off over and over in Gilette Stadium. Ben takes a 7-step drop and gets sacked for a 12 yard loss. Punt.
Edelman doesn't a chance for another return as Antoine Blake sniffs him out. That was the guy who negated the muffed punt in Oakland last week.
William Gay gets called for pass interference. Brady gets smacked around a couple of times but never enough to injure him.
Shamarko Thomas goes for a ride on Gronkowski's leg. Boo Radley keeps running the ball and pulling the offense into the red zone. He breaks through tackles all the way to the end zone. 41-24.
The Patriots slowly shift into a slightly more aggressive prevent with over seven minutes left.. Ben completes a pass over the middle and Marcus Gilbert doesn't get up after the play. Ramon Foster gets shaken up, too.
Brown makes a man miss and gets out of bounds. Bell inexplicably drops a pass that hits him in the hands. Cotchery keeps it going. Suddenly the Steelers are at the Pats' 11 and who else but Jerricho Cotchery finishes off the drive for the hat trick. 41-31.
The Steelers opt to kick it deep and Devin McCourty gets pinned at the 6.
Then Tom Brady throws deep to Aaron Dobson. Ryan Clark is out to lunch. 48-31.
Ben throws an O'Donnell-esque interception. Ridley nearly scores on the next play. Ike Taylor gets shaken up and LeGarratte Blount scores. 55-31.
I love him as much as anyone, but you've just outdone the Steelers from 1933-1969. The bar was pretty low, and the 2013 Steelers managed to slink under it.
The Steelers are hot garbage right now and the season is only halfway over.
-Nice game from Cotchery
-AB still looks solid
-Bell is running well
-Literally everything else. Jobs will be lost this season.