It was a recipe for disaster, and that is exactly how it played out for the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night at Gillette Stadium. The New England Patriots began the evening celebrating their sixth Super Bowl victory from last February, and they ended the night with a 33-3 blowout victory over the Steelers to open the 2019 regular season.
Tom Brady & Co. dominated from the beginning on Sunday, moving the ball up and down the field almost at will. The Patriots’ quarterback threw for 341 yards on 24/36 passing and three TDs. The passing attack was widespread to a receiving corp. will be adding Antonio Brown to its arsenal this week. Phillip Dorsett had 95 yards and two touchdowns, while Josh Gordon had a touchdown catch to go along with his 73 yards. Julian Edelman had 83 yards receiving along with 32 yards passing.
While it may have been expected that the Patriots’ offense would be clicking, what was surprising, and very concerning, was just how much the Steelers’ offense struggled. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 276 yards and JuJu Smith-Schuster had 78 yards receiving, but a lot of those were tallied after the game had already been decided in “garbage time”. They were completely ineffective on the ground, as James Conner managed just 21 yards on 10 carries. Donte Moncrief struggled in his Steelers’ debut, managing three catches and seven yards, but dropped multiple passes early on.
This was a game to forget for Pittsburgh, falling behind 20-0 at halftime and they couldn’t make things any more competitive in the second half. While we knew this would be a challenging way to open up the regular season, on the road against the defending Super Bowl champions, I don’t think anyone thought it would be this ugly.
Luckily, Pittsburgh can wake up and get back to work preparing for next week’s game against the Seattle Seahawks at Heinz Field. Again, this will not be an easy game, as odds of making the postseason drop drastically when a team begins the year 0-2. The pressure will be on for Ben & Co. to bounce back quickly in front of their home crowd.