Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

7 Reasons Why I Think Steelers Will Beat Pats Next Time

The Steelers have been unable to beat New England in their last five outings. But there are plenty of good reasons why that streak could be broken next time around.




photo by pittsburgh steelers|karl roser

 

The ending was as agonizing as it’s ever been.

And given that the Patriots have now beaten the Steelers five times in a row and 12 times in the last 15 tries –– not to mention on three consecutive occasions in the AFC Championship Game –– the sense of inevitability regarding what would happen should these two teams get together again is as recognizable as a New England fog.

But all of that said, you still ought to be encouraged by Patriots 27, Steelers 24.

That’s not to suggest the Steelers would be the favorites should the two teams hook up again in late January in a battle for the AFC championship, or that the Steelers would win the game.

But based on what we saw on Sunday afternoon/evening at Heinz Field, the gap is closing.
 


photo by pittsburgh steelers|dave arrigo

 

And the elephant in the room ought to at least be a little uncomfortable if not downright claustrophobic.

Here’s why:

  • The Steelers played without Marcus Gilbert, Joe Haden, Vance McDonald and Ryan Shazier, among others. But there’s reason to believe Gilbert, Haden and McDonald all might be available the next time. The Patriots’ inactives included Marcus Cannon, Julian Edelman and Dont’a Hightower, and all three of those guys are on the reserve/injured list.
     
  • Martavis Bryant had his best game of the season in terms of making combative, clutch catches and JuJu Smith-Schuster proved the Patriots stage isn’t too big for him. You need complementary guys to beat New England even if you have Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown healthy, and the Steelers seemingly have them in Bell, Brown and McDonald.
     
  • Bell gained 118 of his 165 yards from scrimmage after Brown had been knocked out of the game three plays into the second quarter. Bell’s a matchup problem for New England, as he is for everyone else, regardless of what else the Steelers have to throw at the Pats.
     
  • They rushed four, for the most part, as the Steelers are maniacally committed to doing, and they made Tom Brady uncomfortable, even intercepted him once. That said, they were ultimately unable to prevent the five-play, 77-yard drive late that ultimately won the game, mostly because the Steelers remain unable to cover Rob Gronkowski. But this was still a quantum leap from how the Steelers had defended against Brady in last season’s AFC Championship Game.
     
  • They’re figuring out how to play without Shazier, especially as it relates to stopping the run when there are at least five defensive backs on the field (the game-winning touchdown run notwithstanding). That was never going to be a standard next-man-up progression given all Shazier meant to the Steelers’ defense. And it might yet prove to be a deal-breaker as far as the Super Bowl is concerned. But the Steelers are at least coming to grips with not having Shazier the rest of the way, and they still have two regular-season weeks to continue to tinker with possible alternatives in games they should win easily (at Houston, Cleveland) even without Shazier.
     
  • They’ve stared into the elephant’s eyes and lived to tell about it. No, they didn’t win the game. But the suspicion in the immediate aftermath was the way Patriots 27, Steelers 24 played out, especially the way it ended only served to strengthen the Steelers’ resolve. The Steelers respect the Patriots, but they aren’t overly impressed.

And, last but not least:

  • Ben Roethlisberger can make that throw to Eli Rogers with the game on the line. Roethlisberger didn’t this time. That doesn’t mean he won’t the next time.

Roethlisberger knows it.

So, presumably, does New England. 
  

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

The 400-Word Review: The Old Man and the Gun

Robert Redford's alleged final performance is a quiet, fitting farewell.

Sandwich, Helmet, Teammates Await Bell’s Return to Steelers

Le’Veon Bell reportedly intends to return to the Steelers before the second Browns game on Oct. 28, but hasn’t yet. But that didn’t stop some of his teammates from trying to have some fun with Bell at the media’s expense.

A New Day for Craft Beer in Pittsburgh

Day Bracey, along with Ed Bailey and Mike Potter, forges a more inclusive approach to craft brewing.

Southern Cuisine Served with a Big Side of Hospitality

Sugar and Smoke owner Andrea Robinson not only wants to feed customers of her new eatery in Bloomfield –– she wants to know their names.

Meet Pittsburgh's 40 Under 40 Honorees for 2018

For two decades, Pittsburgh Magazine and PUMP have presented the annual 40 Under 40 list. And every year, 40 people who have been alive for less than four decades are chosen because of their career accomplishments, dogged volunteer work and commitment to the Pittsburgh region. This year is no different. Read on to learn more about some of our very best neighbors.

Restaurant Review: Pie for Breakfast

Pittsburgh gets an updated, all-day diner with a sense of place from the owners of Legume Bistro and Butterjoint.

This is Not a Drill: Can Pittsburgh Survive a Disaster?

Location and geography make Pittsburgh one of the safer places to be in a disaster, but just how well would we do in the face of a cataclysmic event?

Finding Her Voice: An Acid Attack Victim Fights Back

Hanifa Nakiryowa's life changed forever after becoming a victim of a disfiguring acid attack.

Joey's P.A.W. Provides Prosthetics and Wheels for Dogs

Finding a dog on the side of the road in South Carolina changed the lives of this Pittsburgh couple.

Q & A: Summer Lee – Why She Won and What's Next

Lee is on her way to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives after soundly defeating 19-year incumbent Paul Costa in the May Democratic primary. She is unopposed in the general election.

House of 1000 Beers Is Not Exaggerating

There are actually more than 1,000 different varieties of beer available at the pleasant Warrendale bar and restaurant.

The 400-Word Review: Halloween

Forty years later, a new "Halloween" resets most of the franchise and returns to form.

A Life of Service: Children's Hospital Shoe Shiner Dies at 76

Albert Lexie turned his shoe shining tips into care for kids for decades.

Pittsburgh Couples with Perfect New York City Proposals

Another city of bridges provided the perfect backdrop for these romantic engagements.

Millie’s Is on the Move, and Kevin Sousa Will Make Ice Cream for Dinner

Millie’s finds a new home in Homestead, and Kevin Sousa will host an ice cream dinner with OddFellows' Sam Mason at Superior Motors in Braddock.