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Patriots rally, hang on to beat Steelers

Patriots rally, hang on to beat Steelers

Brady fed Gronkowski repeatedly to set up Dion Lewis’ go-ahead 8-yard touchdown with 56 seconds remaining and Roethlisberger was intercepted in the end zone with 5 seconds left as the New England Patriots rallied to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-24 on Sunday.

The Patriots (11-3) gained the inside track for homefield advantage in the AFC playoffs by ending Pittsburgh’s eight-game winning streak. Brady threw for 298 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Gronkowski, finished with nine receptions for 168 yards, fresh off a one-game suspension, including four on the game-winning drive.

It briefly looked like it wouldn’t be enough.

The Steelers (11-3), appeared to take the lead when Roethlisberger connected with tight end Jesse James for a 10-yard touchdown with 28 seconds to left. The play was overturned on review, who played most of the game without injured wide receiver Antonio Brown, with official Tony Corrente saying the ball did not “survive” the completion of the catch.

Roethlisberger hit Darrius Heyward-Bey for a short gain but stayed in bounds. With the clock running and no timeouts left, Roethlisberger hurried to the line. Rather than spike it to set up a short kick that would have sent the game to overtime, Roethlisberger tried to win it.

Instead, he lost it. His pass to Eli Rogers was batted into the air, and New England safety Duron Harmon came down with it. One kneel down later the Patriots had their fifth straight victory over the Steelers.

Roethlisberger completed 22 of 30 for 281 yards with two touchdowns and the pick. Le’Veon Bell ran for 117 yards and added another 48 receiving as Pittsburgh hung in there even with Brown, the NFL’s leading receiver, in a hospital having his left calf injury examined.

Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin hardly downplayed the pregame hype, welcoming the moment and the pressure that comes along with it even while facing an opponent that he’s beaten just twice during his 11-year tenure and never in a game of true consequence, including a blowout loss in the AFC championship game 11 months ago.

Pittsburgh received an early emotional jolt when cameras cut to injured linebacker Ryan Shazier sitting in a private box less than two weeks removed from spinal stabilization surgery. The crowd at rainy Heinz Field roared as Shazier, waved a Terrible Towe l. The 25-year-old is recovering from spinal stabilization surgery on Dec. 6, who appeared to be seated, two days after leaving a Monday night victory over Cincinnati on a stretcher following a routine hit on Bengals wide receiver Josh Malone.

The emotional boost of Shazier’s surprise cameo faded quickly. Brady took a snap, and the reality the Steelers face without their most irreplaceable defensive player set in. Brady took the Patriots right down the field, connecting with Cooks for a 43-yard gain that set up Rex Burkhead’s 1-yard touchdown.

The Steelers answered immediately on an 18-yard lob from Roethlisberger to Rogers. Pittsburgh took its first lead over the Patriots since 2011 early in the second quarter on a Chris Boswell field goal, one that came at a possibly heavy price. Brown left in obvious pain after getting his left leg tangled up with a pair of New England defenders. He was helped to the medical tent then taken to a hospital for further examination.

Still, Pittsburgh hung around thanks to the depth they didn’t have while getting rolled by New England the last time the AFC superpowers met.

 suspended all of last season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy,Bryant, churned up clock and yards. Smith-Schuster,[url=http://www.steelerscheapauthenticstore.com/artie-burns-jersey-cheap]Authentic Artie Burns Jersey[/url], the ebullient rookie, limited to just 11 snaps in Foxborough last January, made a pretty one-handed touchdown catch late in the first half that put Pittsburgh up 17-10 at the break. Bell, caught six passes for 114 yards,[url=http://www.steelerscheapauthenticstore.com/sean-davis-jersey-cheap]Authentic Sean Davis Jersey[/url], including a 69-yard catch-and-run that put the Steelers in position to at least tie it.

Two different Pittsburgh Steelers got bad news from the NFL this week. Safety Sean Davis and cornerback Artie Burns both got slapped with fines from the team’s big win over the Baltimore Ravens.

Davis was fined $18,231 for his hit out of bounds but was not fined for his aggressive tackle on Ravens’ tight end Benjamin Watson where he slammed him down. Burns drew his $12,154 fine after he stripped his helmet off to argue with the officials over a defensive pass interference call he drew.

The Steelers had some serious lapses in composure against Baltimore last week and that can’t happen this Sunday. Clean football is going to be the key to beating the Patriots.

The Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman became a huge New England Patriots fan before his days with the Steelers. In particular, Villanueva’s fanaticism for the Patriots grew while he was serving in the military in Afghanistan where football provided a distraction for the rigors of war.

Villanueva told the Post-Gazette that he is no longer a Patriots fan, Tom Brady would often communicate with military members to provide words of encouragement. That went a long way for Villanueva,[url=http://www.steelerscheapauthenticstore.com/javon-hargrave-jersey-cheap]Authentic Javon Hargrave Jerse[/url], but that when serving abroad, who wouldn’t have access to football broadcasts but would get the final game scores. So he’d fantasize about how the Patriots got to those often-winning shorelines.

“When I was over there — and again, you don’t know which day could be your last — it was fun to follow,” Villanueva told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I’d just hear the scores,[url=http://www.steelerscheapauthenticstore.com/bud-dupree-jersey-cheap]Authentic Bud Dupree Jersey[/url], but I would have no access to information, and I’d sort of fantasize in my head how good Gronk [tight end Rob Gronkowski] was doing or how good [receiver Julian] Edelman was doing and how they were winning games.

“Now, and somehow he knows my name. He’s like, it’s crazy. I get to see Gronk after the games, ‘Hey Al.’ So I think football means a lot.

Those are the sorts of words being tossed around the Pittsburgh Steelers,[url=http://www.steelerscheapauthenticstore.com/senquez-golson-jersey-cheap]Authentic Senquez Golson Jersey[/url], for some reason, as a result of the top team in the AFC mounting recent comeback after comeback over dregs of the league that they should be beating by 28.

Those are the words that seem even more jutting after the New England Patriots, who head to Pittsburgh this weekend for the biggest game of the year, were embarrassed last Monday night in Miami.

On Sunday, the Steelers can claim the No. 1 seed with a win over New England. The Patriots can try and wrestle it back where they believe it belongs.

“But this is even bigger than that,[url=http://www.steelerscheapauthenticstore.com/sammie-coates-jersey-cheap]Authentic Sammie Coates Jersey[/url],” writes Jarrett Bell in USA Today. “This is about the opportunity to prove that the Patriots’ recent run of dominance in the series won’t continue.”

Tom Brady is 10-2 against Pittsburgh. A week after throwing two against the Dolphins, it’s worthy to note he hasn’t thrown one against the Steelers in 12 years.

 Sporting News: Steelers 31,David Steele, after what he did. But he’s not, Patriots 29. “Speaking of the MVP award, Rob Gronkowski has to be a candidate now, he’d be suspended for this game, too, right, in a just world, seeing how constricted the Patriots offense looked without him against the Dolphins? Of course, so that’s a problem for a Steelers defense that struggled to slow down the Ravens. Meanwhile, the Patriots defense that was riding a bend-don’t-break rep into the Dolphins game broke a lot that night. And the Dolphins don’t have Antonio Brown or Le’Veon Bell.”

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: Patriots 33, but their depth, versatility and diversity will allow them to win an expected shootout, Steelers 27. “The Patriots didn’t play well Monday night. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick were visibly unhappy with what happened in Miami. But that only means they’ll go “on to Pittsburgh” with a clear focus. Nothing related to the Patriots’ bigger goal was lost against the Dolphins. Rob Gronkowski is back to wreak havoc on the Steelers like he always does. The Patriots will have their hands full with Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, as Brady and Belichick will continue to have Mike Tomlin’s number.”

Chris Simms, Bleacher Report: Patriots 31, and the Steelers have the firepower to get into a shootout and beat New England. The Patriots have dominated the Steelers so much over the years, though, Steelers 27. “This game is in Pittsburgh,[url=http://www.steelerscheapauthenticstore.com/artie-burns-jersey-cheap]Womens Artie Burns Jersey[/url], that I have to see the series swing Pittsburgh’s way before I’ll believe it.”

Jimmy Kempski, Philly Voice: Patriots. “Tom Brady is 7-2 against the Steelers over his career, over his career, with 24 TD passes and 3 INTs. In fact,[url=http://www.steelerscheapauthenticstore.com/sean-davis-jersey-cheap]Womens Sean Davis Jersey[/url], Brady’s passer rating against the Steelers is 114.2. Only the Falcons have allowed a higher passer rating (116.7) when facing Brady. The Pats just seem to own them.”

Benjamin Hoffman, who have a greater than 99 percent chance of making the playoffs, New York Times: Steelers. “Helping matters considerably would be a win over the Patriots (10-3), according to the Playoff Simulator. Beating New England would give Pittsburgh home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and two meaningless games to help it get players healthy for them.”

Michael David Smith,[url=http://www.steelerscheapauthenticstore.com/javon-hargrave-jersey-cheap]Womens Javon Hargrave Jersey[/url], Pro Football Talk: Patriots 27, Steelers 24. “The Patriots will bounce back from an ugly Monday night loss to win what is the biggest game of the regular season so far.”

 NFL.com: Patriots 30, Steelers 24. “Obviously,Elliot Harrison, though,[url=http://www.steelerscheapauthenticstore.com/bud-dupree-jersey-cheap]Womens Bud Dupree Jersey[/url], one that everyone has circled on their calendar, this is the second-best game of the weekend, he should capitalize on the available windows in the Steelers’ secondary that Joe Flacco couldn’t, or didn’t, take advantage of. That means Ben Roethlisberger will have to keep pace. Remember,[url=http://www.steelerscheapauthenticstore.com/senquez-golson-jersey-cheap]Womens Senquez Golson Jersey[/url], who is on everyone’s $#$# list after the late, right after Texans at Jags. So, late hit he laid in the Bills game. If Tom Brady has time (he was made uncomfortable repeatedly in Miami), we know the Patriots will have Rob Gronkowski, that Pittsburgh couldn’t feature Le’Veon Bell in last January’s AFC Championship Game due to injury. Perhaps,[url=http://www.steelerscheapauthenticstore.com/sammie-coates-jersey-cheap]Womens Sammie Coates Jersey[/url], with the Steelers looking to keep Brady off the field, Sunday’s affair will develop into one of those Lev Bell 35-touch games.”