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Steelers Breakdown: Week 15

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A look at the Steelers' nail-biting 27-24 loss at the hands of New England at Heinz Field Sunday.

Mike Tomlin had no complaints about the Steelers’ apparent game-winning touchdown that was taken away by the officials’ review. Ben Roethlisberger threw what looked like a complete pass to Jesse James near the goal line with 9 seconds left. James fell into the end zone after making the catch but after the review, the pass was called incomplete.

“I don’t have HD and all that,” Tomlin said. “It’s not going to change the outcome. I’m not going to complain about spilt milk.”

On the final play of the game, Roethlisberger faked a spike, then threw into the end zone for Eli Rogers, but the Patriots were not fooled. The ball was tipped and intercepted by Duron Harmon to clinch the 27-24 win for New England.

“We played to win but came up short,” Tomlin said. “We need to make the necessary response and get back to our winning ways.”

It looked like the Steelers would pull a win out of the jaws of defeat as their defense let the Patriots score a touchdown and a two point conversion with 56 seconds left to take a 27-24 win.

Poor Defensive Series

The Steeler defense crumbled under the weight of Rob Gronkowski as the Patriots drove 77 yards down the field in a minute to take the lead. Gronkowski had all four catches on the drive before Dion Lewis ran 8 yards for the touchdown. Gronkowski also caught what proved to be a vital two point conversion. He finished the game with 9 receptions for 168 yards.

Pass Play of the Game

The Steelers came roaring back, however, as Roethlisberger hit JuJu Smith-Schuster on a screen pass with 34 seconds left. Smith) Smith-Shuster took off 69 yards down field and was stopped at the New England 10 yard line before the controversial end of the game. Smith-Schuster caught 6 passes for 69 yards.

Cam Heyward felt the Steelers’ defense had chances to finish out the game but came up short.

“We had a lot of chances to close the door in this game but we didn’t. The ball just bounced their way,” Heyward said. “That was a heckuva roller coaster. Go to a complete high, thinking we scored.”

Penalty of the Game

The crucial flag came early in the first quarter.  The Steelers held New England at the 45 yard line on third down and one to force a punt, but Heyward was called for encroachment on the play which gave the Patriots a first down. The capitalized on the gift and scored a touchdown three plays later to take a 7-0 lead with nine minutes left in the first quarter.

Sean Davis led the Steelers’ defense with 10 tackles. On the Patriot’s winning drive, however, Tom Brady threw a ball short and Davis was in prime position to make the interception. He let the ball fall through his hands at the New England 25-yard line in what was the Missed Interception of the Game

Made Interception of the Game

Vince Williams made a spectacular play with 4:31 left in the third quarter. He cut across the field and spied Brady on a pass play. Brady did not see him and threw it his way. He jumped the route and pulled in his first career interception at the Patriots’ 22 yard line. It was the first time Brady had been intercepted by the Steelers in 12 years. 

Five plays later, Le’Veon Bell banged in for a 3 yard touchdown to give the Steelers a 24-16 lead with 1:33 left in the third quarter.

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