By Tiffany Williams –
Sunday afternoon the Patriots and Steelers met for the first time since the opening day of the 2019 season when the Patriots won, 33-3, at Gillette Stadium in a Sunday Night Football Game on September 8. Sunday was the first time the Patriots played at Pittsburgh since dropping a 17-10 decision on December 16, 2018, the team’s last loss of the year en route to the Super Bowl LIII title.
With Sunday’s 17-14 win, the Patriots have now beaten Pittsburgh fourteen times in the regular season since they first met at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh on October 22, 1972 and that was a 3-33 loss for the Patriots.
Sunday the Patriots took an early lead with 6:46 on the clock in the first quarter, Folk’s 28 yard field goal was good to put the Patriots on top 3-0.
In the second quarter with 8:38 on the clock, Boswell’s 36 yard field goal was good to make it a 3-3 game. But wth just thirty seconds remaining in the second quarter, Mac Jones passed deep right to Agholor and got the first touchdown for the Patriots. Folk’s extra point was good to Put the Patriots on top 10-3.
In the third quarter with 5:47 on the clock, Boswell’s 52 yard field goal was good to make this a 10-6 game. With 2:50 remaining in the third quarter the Patriots made this a 17-6 game with Harris taking it up the middle for 2 yards to get the second touchdown for the Patriots and Folk’s extra point was good.
At the top of the fourth quarter with fifteen minutes on the clock, Trubisky passed short down the middle to connect with Freiermuth to get the first touchdown of the game for Pittsburgh. The two-point conversion attempt was good to make this a 17-14 game.
After the game Sunday, Coach Bill Belichick came into the media room and the first thing he said was “Well, that was a good team win for us. You know, really proud of the way the guys competed here. This is a great, you know, football city, football environment.”
When asked about the play from Mac to Nelson and how significant it was, Belichick said “Yeah, Nelson did a great job going up there and taking the ball. You know, just good job by, you know, Mac giving the receiver a chance to go get it. And Nelly came down with it. So, yeah, that was a huge play for us. We had a chance for a, you know, swing there at the half, but we weren’t able to get the field goal in the third quarter. But it was the right idea, we just got to do a little better job there finishing the drive at the start of the third quarter.”
During the postgame press conference Mac Jones was asked about how different physically, mentally today was and he said, “Yeah, it feels good. I think, obviously, we wanted to improve a lot of things. And we had a chance to do that throughout the week, really. That’s where it all started. And just a great team win. It just wasn’t one phase of the game. Offensive line played amazing. Didn’t even really get hit. So, hats off to them. Run game, pass game, they made it work. So that was something I was really proud of. And we just got to keep doing that.”
When asked about how he feels in the shotgun, Jones said “I like the shotgun. I like under center, too. I think they’re both interchangeable. You can run the same plays out of either one. But, yeah, I think it was a good idea and we can do either one. It’s just the difference of a word. You’re either under center or in the gun. So we can do whatever we want. And every time has both. So that’s important as an offense, to be able to do both.”
After Sunday’s game Devin McCourty said “It is about finding a way to win. I would not say this was the best game we have ever played. There were times when we were very complimentary of each other. We let up a touchdown drive and then the offense had a long drive. Nelly [Nelson Aglolor] was just talking about ending the game. Games are perfect by how you take advantage of the situation and make winning plays; I thought we did that today and the result is a win. It is always better correcting the film with a win, and we will get to do that tomorrow.”
For Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Sunday was his 500th game as owner. Kraft purchased the team in 1994 and since then the Patriots have 341 wins, 22 playoff seasons, 19 division titles, 11 AFC titles, and six Super Bowl championships.