Final Score: Patriots 28, Steelers 21
September 10, 2015
The 2015 NFL regular season officially got underway on Thursday with a big-time AFC matchup between the Steelers and the Patriots. These two teams don’t reside in the same division, but nonetheless share an intense rivalry that always results in an intriguing game. This time was no different.
Let’s check out the key stats and players from this one so we can figure out why things happened the way they did. Afterward we’ll look forward to Week 2 for both teams to see what’s ahead.
What Happened: On an evening when the Patriots were celebrating their 2014 Super Bowl victory, things couldn’t have gone much better on the field. The Steelers came up empty on a pair of field goal attempts early on, and New England responded in the second quarter with a pair of Tom Brady hookups with TE Rob Gronkowski, one from 16 yards and one from six. Pittsburgh would add a 44-yard field goal as time ran out in the first half to make it 14-3.
New England pushed things further early on in the third, with a Scott Chandler TD from Brady from one yard out. The Steelers would finally get into the end zone with a Will Johnson run and a two-point conversion that made it 11-21 at the end of the third.
Josh Scobee would nail another field goal for the Steelers in the fourth to bring them within a touchdown, but had no answer for the Pats’ passing game, which scored again on a Brady-to-Gronkowski hookup from one yard out.
Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger would add a cosmetic score late, so this one wasn’t as close as the score would indicate. New England takes their opener 28-21.
The Stars: Pats fans are thanking the legal system this morning as they look at the box score. Brady posted four touchdowns on 25-of-32 passing in his return, buoyed by Dion Lewis’ 15 carries for 69 yards. Gronkowski would finish with five grabs for 94 yards and the three scores, while Julian Edelman would add 11 for 97 yards of his own.
On the other side, DeAngelo Williams ran well most of the night, logging 21 totes for 127 yards. Brown posted nine grabs for 133 yards and the late score, while Heath Miller managed eight for 84.
The Goats: Scobee’s two missed field goals set the tone early, giving Brady and company some excellent field position. The Pittsburgh defense didn’t fare much better, having no answer for Gronk and the Pats passing game. They looked utterly lost on several plays.
On the other side, Lewis nearly had a very costly fumble at the goal line, but thankfully Gronk was there to clean up the mess.
Injuries: Patriots DT Dominique Easley had to leave early on in this one due to a hip injury. The Steelers didn’t fare much better: Sean Spence came out thanks to a hamstring issue. Will Allen was also examined for a concussion.
Outlook: Looking ahead to Week 2, the Steelers get their first home game against the incoming 49ers (Sunday, Sept. 20; 1:00 PM ET on FOX) while the Patriots will start in on their own division with a trip to Buffalo for the Bills (Sunday, Sept. 20; 1:00 PM ET on CBS).
For the latest article updates, follow Andrew on Twitter @SCPAndrew.