Final, 28-21 Patriots: Onside kick, game over.
See you next Sunday.READ MORE: Revolution Season Comes To Disappointing End With Loss To NYCFC In East Semis
Fourth quarter, :02, 28-21 Patriots: In terms of the game, that touchdown meant nothing. But out in Vegas, where the spread hovered around 7 points, it was a big one.
Nevertheless, Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown, and the QB got to pad his stats with a whole bunch of short completions on that drive, but the Patriots are a kickoff away from being 1-0.
Fourth quarter, 2:59, 28-14 Patriots: New England succeeded in draining some clock on that drive, but Brady sort of overthrew Dion Lewis on third down, and the running back didn’t exactly make the best play on the ball. He would have picked up a first down, but the play just didn’t work out.
Ryan Allen’s punt bounced into the end zone, and a holding penalty on New England will give Pittsburgh the ball at their own 30. The game’s not over, but the Steelers will have to move fast.
Fourth quarter, 7:00, 28-14 Patriots: A deep interception is probably not what the Steelers were going for there, but Duron Harmon cut in front of Roethlisberger’s deep ball to Heyward-Bey and made the pick at the New England 7-yard line.
There was a slight wind in the QB’s face, and the rain is falling pretty steadily, so Roethlisberger really underthrew that one.
Fourth quarter, 7:36, 28-14 Patriots: So much for killing time. Lewis ran for a loss on first down, Gronk made a 30-plus-yard catch on second down but his toe was out of bounds, and Brady’s third down pass was batted at the line.
Ryan Allen’s booming punt was wiped away due to illegal formation, so he rekicked again on a fourth-and-17 from the New England 19. He caught a low snap and booted it to the Pittsburgh 36.
Fourth quarter, 8:29, 28-14 Patriots: Three-and-out, and out comes punter Jordan Berry. He might as well have been carrying the white flag with him.
Danny Amendola fair caught the punt at the New England 35-yard line, but a holding penalty will push them back to their 27. The Pats will look to run some clock and at least tack on a field goal.
And during a break in the action while the officials huddled, a loud “Where is Roger?” chant has broken out. You’ve gotta love it.
Fourth quarter, 9:20, 28-14 Patriots: The replay review sure did overturn the touchdown, but no matter. Gronkowski scored in a more traditional manner just three plays later.
I don’t, for the life of me, understand why any team would ever try to single cover him in a goal line situation. But the Steelers did just that, and Brady hit the tight end on a fade on third-and-goal.
That was a big one right there.
Fourth quarter, 10:04, 27-14 (briefly): Well, that’s one way to score a touchdown, I suppose.
Dion Lewis caught a pass over the middle and start putting on the shimmy show, except he coughed up the ball inside the 5-yard line. Rob Gronkowski — who hauled in a 52-yard catch-and-run to start the drive — was Robby on the Spot, as he jumped on top of the loose ball right on the goal line.
The officials called it a touchdown on the field, but it looked like the ball was between the 1-yard line and the goal line. So it should be first-and-goal from the 1-inch line.
Fourth quarter, 11:39, 21-14 Patriots: Given where that football was, the Patriots will take a Pittsburgh field goal.
After a pass interference on Pat Chung gave the Steelers a first-and-goal from the 1-yard line, Pittsburgh threw incomplete and got stuffed on a run. On third down, the Pats’ defensive line shifted simultaneously, a lateral move which caused the Steelers offensive line to jump. That moved them back to the 6-yard line, and they called an inside handoff to Williams. He lost a yard, and Pittsburgh settled for three.
Patriots need a score here.
End of third quarter, 21-11 Patriots: The third quarter comes to a close with the Steelers threatening. They’ll face a first-and-goal from the 8-yard line to open the fourth.
Markus Wheaton made a very impressive catch on the right sideline, tapping his toes on the sideline and hauling in a 26-yard reception despite a flying Devin McCourty coming right across his face.
Earlier in the drive, Roethlisberger perfectly fit a pass in to Brown on a crossing pattern to convert on a third-and-6.
Third quarter, 4:15, 21-11 Patriots: Brady took a sack on third down on a well-timed and perfectly executed blitz by safety Will Allen, and the Pats had to punt. The game is getting awfully tight late in the third.
Interestingly, the Patriots put Marcus Cannon at left tackle for that drive. There’s no injury to Nate Solder, so perhaps it’s a way to help get everyone adjusted to game shape?
Third quarter, 6:43, 21-11 Patriots: The Steelers fell behind by 18, but they aren’t going away. They just responded nicely with an 80-yard scoring drive, finding the end zone for the first time of the night.
DeAngelo Williams (who’s having quite the renaissance night) broke off a 28-yard run, and on the following play, Antonio Brown got Malcolm Butler to bite on a double move before making a 33-yard catch.
The Steelers then ran it down to the Pats’ goal line, and though the New England D came up with a couple of stops, Will Johnson plunged in for the touchdown on third-and-goal. The Steelers went for two, and Roethlisberger hit Markus Wheaton on a quick slant to convert it.
And sure enough, we’ve still got ourselves a football game.
Third quarter, 10:37, 21-3 Patriots: That drive was absolutely surgical.
The Patriots drove 80 yards in just over four minutes, with Brady completing all four passes for 27 yards, capped off with a 1-yard lob to Scott Chandler.
Dion Lewis also picked up 24 yards on the ground, and the Pats were aided by a Cortez Allen pass interference penalty on Edelman in the end zone, giving them 28 free yards.
Brady is now 19-for-21 for 199 yards with three touchdowns. That’s pretty close to a perfect night thus far.
Third quarter, 15:00, 14-3 Patriots: The second half is underway after a touchback.
A touchdown drive here would go a long way toward securing a victory.
Halftime: Let’s have some fun with halftime stats! (Sorry, that didn’t require an exclamation, but you’ve got to try to liven up halftime somehow.)
Tom Brady: 15-for-17, 172 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs
Ben Roethlisberger: 12-for-17, 0 TDs, 0 INTs
Dion Lewis: 6 carries, 21 yards
DeAngelo Williams: 10 carries, 54 yards
Julian Edelman: 6 receptions, 60 yards
Rob Gronkowski: 3 receptions, 41 yards, 2 TDs
Dion Lewis: 3 receptions, 32 yards
Antonio Brown: 5 receptions, 64 yards
Heath Miller: 4 receptions, 50 yards
Darrius Heyward-Bey: 2 receptions, 47 yards
Josh Scobee: 1/3 FGs
Halftime: The Pats didn’t play a perfect half of football, but thanks to some bad kicks by Scobee and a boneheaded play by Heyward-Bey, they’ll take a 14-3 lead into the locker room.
First, the brain fart. Heyward-Bey was left all alone in the left side of the end zone, and Roethlisberger floated a pass directly to him. Heyward-Bey, completely uncovered, dropped to his knees and let his toes go out of bounds before making the catch. He was properly ruled out of bounds, setting up a third-and-5.
Roethlisberger spent a lot of time in the pocket on the following play, but eventually threw incomplete over the middle to Heyward-Bey.
Scobee came back out, and the third time was a charm, as he drilled the field goal to get Pittsburgh on the board.
The play of that drive for Pittsburgh was a 37-yard deep ball up the right sideline to Brown, who cleanly got a step or two on Butler on the route.
Overall, the Pats have to feel OK with an 11-point lead, considering the penalties that slowed them on offense and the Steelers’ general effectiveness moving the ball.
New England will receive to start the second half.
Second quarter, 4:01, 14-0 Patriots: Rob Gronkowski is having himself quite a night.
On a second-and-goal from the 6-yard line, the Patriots came out in a heavy set with nobody split out wide. Brady faked a handoff, and even though Gronk was essentially double-covered, floated a pass over everybody’s head. Everybody, that is, except for the towering tight end.
Gronk reached above his head, tapped his toes, and came down with his second TD of the night.
Earlier in the drive, Brady floated a perfect ball to Amendola for a gain of 18, and a QB sneak also moved the chains on a third-and-2 from the 11-yard line.
Second quarter, 8:38, 7-0 Patriots: Josh Scobee. Your leg. Woof.
The Steelers’ kicker just missed his second field goal of the night, this one a 46-yard attempt. Yet again, he was wide right.
Pittsburgh got deep into New England territory with a picture-perfect deep pass from Roethlisberger to Darius Heyward-Bey. Bradley Fletcher was tight in coverage, but Heyward-Bey made a heck of a catch to haul it in up the right sidelines.
Alas, it was all for naught, as Josh Scobee cannot kick tonight. It’s dry and there is zero wind, if you were wondering.READ MORE: Red Wings Beat Bruins 2-1
The Patriots take over at their own 36-yard line.
Second quarter, 11:11, 7-0 Patriots: Hey, Pittsburgh. You’re going to want to cover No. 87.
The Steelers left Gronkowski all alone split out far right on a first-and-10 at the 16-yard line, and Brady recognized it quickly, getting the ball out to the monster tight end. Gronkowski shed the tackle attempt of Robert Golden and waltzed into the end zone, and the Pats lead 7-0.
Edelman came up with a few big plays on that drive, including an end-around run on that third-and-short to start the quarter.
Oh, and of course, Gronkowski capped that one off with a spike. Who needs a preseason?
End of first quarter, 0-0: Nate Solder’s got a new contract, but he’s also got some penalty issues.
His personal foul on the opening drive cost the Patriots 15 yards, and his holding call just now just set the Pats back to the 10-yard line after they had just gotten to the 20 for a first down.
Following the penalty, Aaron Dobson had a 9-yard catch on the left sideline (that spot on the field has been wide open thus far) before Edelman caught another ball on the left sideline and fought his way forward for a gain of 9.
It’ll be a third-and-2 from the New England 28-yard line when the second quarter begins.
First quarter, 3:14, 0-0: Dont’a Hightower is one strong man.
The linebacker came streaking up the middle of the Pittsburgh O-line untouched, and he got a hand on Roethlisberger. We’ve seen countless pass rushers do the same but eventually lose grip of the big-bodied QB, but Hightower showed some ridiculous strength to muscle Roethelisberger down for a sack.
Roethlisberger completed a 17-yard pass to Heath Miller on the ensuing third down, but unfortunately for him, it was third-and-18. The Steelers punted, and it’s the Pats ball at their own 10 after a hold by Matthew Slater on the return.
First quarter, 7:41, 0-0: Brady found some success early in that drive, hitting Edelman and Dion Lewis on the left sideline for first-down pickups on the first three plays of the drive. But things stalled out after that, with Brady and Gronkowski getting crossed up on a first-down incompletion, Brady overthrowing an open Danny Amendola on a deep play-action pass on second down, and Bud Dupree coming in off the left end of the Steelers’ line unblocked and sacking Brady on third down.
Ryan Allen’s punt was fair caught at the 7-yard line, and the Steelers take over.
Also, Dominique Easley’s injury is a hip ailment, and his return is questionable.
First quarter, 9:40, 0-0: The Steelers were running at will against the Patriots’ defense, with DeAngelo Williams picking up large chunks of yards to lead the Steelers down to the New England 24-yard line very quickly.
Yet for whatever reason, the Steelers decided to run a trick play, with Ben Roethlisberger throwing a quick pass to Antonio Brown on the right side. Brown ran back to the backfield looking to throw a pass, but he was swallowed up for a loss of 8 yards. Tackle Marcus Gilbert was called for holding on the ensuing play, setting up a second-and-28 from the New England 42-yard line.
Dominique Easley suffered an injury after a short fullback run, and he didn’t look too good making his way off the field after spending several minutes down on the turf. It looked like his right knee, which is a bad sign for the second-year player.
But of course, the game went on. The Steelers came out facing a third-and-22. Roethlisberger took a shotgun snap and found Heath Miller in the right flat for a 10-yard gain that put Pittsburgh in field goal range.
Josh Scobee came out to kick the 44-yarder, but he shanked it right.
Just like that, a once-promising drive, and here comes Tom Brady.
First quarter, 15:00: Stephen Gostkowski’s kick sailed deep into the end zone, and the Steelers will start at their own 20.
Football season is officially underway.
*There are ongoing Internet issues at Gillette Stadium. Updates may suffer as a result. Please bear with us as we work through the trouble.
8:35 p.m.: The Pats have won the toss … and chosen to defer. That certainly bodes well for New England.
8:28 p.m.: The Dropkick Murphys just got the pregame show started with a two-song set, as a “We Are All Patriots” flag was unfurled at the 50-yard line.
8:15 p.m.: The current Patriots have left the field, but some all-time greats are chatting with Robert Kraft on the sideline.
Ty Law, Willie McGinest and Troy Brown are in the house, and the celebration is about to begin.
8:04 p.m.: Fans were instructed to be in their seats by 8 p.m., and many of them obliged, as this place is near capacity 30 minutes before kickoff.
And they’re already loud. Robert Kraft and Bill Belchick drew large cheers when shown on the video boards. The pregame celebration has yet to begin, but the building is ready for it.
7:50 p.m.: The quarterback is in the building.
Brady took the field, alongside Jimmy Garoppolo, with his unofficial intro music — “Public Service Announcement” by Jay-Z — blaring through Gillette Stadium. As always, Brady was rather fired up as he hooted and hollered in the corner of the end zone.
The Pats are wearing commemorative Super Bowl patches on their left shoulders tonight, adding to the theme.
7:20 p.m.: We already knew Bryan Stork was out and will remain out for at least half the season. But another starter — Ryan Wendell — is also inactive tonight.
That spells potential trouble for the offensive line tasked with protecting Brady. Undrafted rookie David Andrews will likely start at center, with Nate Solder at left tackle and Sebastian Vollmer at right tackle. But those two guard spots will be have to be manned by some combination of Josh Kline, Marcus Cannon and/or rookies Shaq Mason and Tre Jackson.
No quarterback — not Brady, not Marc Ecko in Madden 2002 — can thrive when there’s no protection on the interior, so that’s going to really bear watching tonight.
Wendell, by the way, was not on the injury report yesterday.
The full list of Pats inactives is here:
Ryan Wendell, OL
Trey Flowers, DL
Travaris Cadet, RB
Tavon Wilson, S
Khyri Thornton, DL
Rufus Johnson, LB
Justin Coleman, CB
And here are the Steelers inactives:
Landry Jones, QB
Sammie Coates, WR
Ross Cockrell, CB
Chris Hubbard, OL
Jesse James, TE
L.T. Walton, DE
Caushaud Lyons, DE
6 p.m.: It’s rather nasty out there now, in terms of comfort, with a decent rain falling on Foxboro. But there’s little to no wind, and it’s still pretty warm out, so I don’t think it’ll wreak havoc on this game. The rain is also expected to peter out
And based on the thousands upon thousands of fans out there tailgating in the elements, I don’t think the mood of the fans will be dampened one bit once they open the gates in here.
There’s a big stage set up in the concourse behind the end zone (non-lighthouse side) as well as a smaller circle stage down on the Patriots sideline. Preparations are well underway for what should be a wild ceremony.
There are also, by my count, 12 tents down on field level for TV networks’ live broadcasts. Safe to say there may be a few eyeballs on this game here tonight.
Only 150 minutes left until football begins.
4 p.m.: Holy smokes. It’s football season.
We may have just endured a heat wave in Boston, and it may still feel like summer, but make no mistake about it: Autumn arrives tonight.
That’s when the Patriots will host the Steelers in the season-opening game for the NFL. For dozens of reasons, this game will draw an incredible number of eyeballs to TV screens around the country, and it’s sure to be worth the watch.
There are plenty of story lines, from the Tom Brady-Roger Goodell battle that lasted all season, to the rehashed Spygate drama cooked up this week, to the unveiling of the Patriots’ fourth Super Bowl banner. And they’re all rather juicy.
Yet once the football gets kicked tonight around 8:30 p.m., those will all fade into the background, and football — real, actual football — will take over.
That’s a glorious thing, really.
Right here in this live blog, I’ll have updates all evening. During pregame, I’ll keep a close eye on the Patriots’ offensive line, which lost Bryan Stork to IR yesterday (he can return midseason). And I’ll have updates throughout the whole game, from the banner ceremony to the coin flip to the final whistle. Check back early and often.MORE NEWS: COVID Booster Demand 'Skyrocketing' In Massachusetts