BOSTON (CBS) — Despite the absence of Ben Roethlisberger, Sunday in Pittsburgh was without a doubt a big win for the Pats. It happened on the road in a tough environment.
Here are your gold stars and penalty flags:
– LeGarrette Blount gets a gold star after rushing for 127 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. Blount’s time with the Steelers ended in a cloudy mess, so this game meant a lot to him. Instead of trying too hard, he stayed inside the offense and kept the Patriots on pace. Afterwards, when the Pittsburgh media tried to bait him into controversy, he didn’t bite and said he loved his time in Pittsburgh — adding that he’s happy with being a Patriot, of course. The Pats needed the run game against Pittsburgh because the Steeler defense was doing everything to stop Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett. Blout has become one of the many go-to guys the Pats have on offense.
– Patrick Chung gets a gold star.
The safety was flying all around the field on defense, making stops in the run game and stops in the passing game. He defended tight ends and wide receivers. This was a perfect game for Chung, who finished with 10 combined tackles and was a big part in keeping the Steelers’ offense out of the end zone.
– The city of Pittsburgh gets a gold star. Honestly, Pittsburgh is one of the best road cities in the NFL. Their fans show up and root for their team. They provided an environment that maybe the Pats needed. When the Pats were in Arizona and Cleveland this year, there were tons of Pats fans in the stands. That was not the case Sunday in Pittsburgh, as Steelers Nation came strong and they were loud. That’s what a home crowd is supposed to do. Perfect place for a game.
– The Pats have got to figure out who is going to play opposite Malcolm Butler. Logan Ryan had another rough afternoon pn Sunday, as the Steelers targeted him on their third down passing plays. Most of the times, it was a good game plan. When he started to get beat by Cobi Hamilton, I just threw my hands up. Ryan was solid last year, but right now, he’s taken a step backwards.
– Brandon Bolden and Julian Edelman get a penalty flag for their dropped passes. How many crucial drops can the Pats have before they start to pile up and hurt them? Bolden had a third down drop that could have flipped the field. Edelman had a drop for a sure first down (though a penalty would have negated it). And let’s not forget Chris Hogan, who had a fumble on the first play from scrimmage. The Pats have been sure-handed in the past, so maybe this was one game. They can’t make a habit of this.