Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) – New England Patriots (1-1): 14-17
The last time the Steelers and Patriots played each other without Ben Roethlisberger or Tom Brady on the field was in 1998. In a quarterback duel between Kordell Stewart and Drew Bledsoe, the Patriots won 23-9. This time, the two pitchers were named Mitch Trubisky (21/33, 168 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) and Mac Jones (21/35, 252 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT), and the Patriots also took away. But those nostalgic for the big duels between Big Ben and TB12 had to get their necks wet, because the show was not there.
In the first half, not much to get your teeth into. Apart from exchanges of kicks, the most notable point was an exchange of good practices between the two quarterbacks, being intercepted in quick succession. Both teams have long seemed unable to get into the opposing half. It took an extraordinary reception from Nelson Agholor (6 rec, 110 yards, 1 TD), surely the best offensive player of the match (yes, we are there), to bring a bit of spectacle to this match. On a long pass from Mac Jones, the former Eagles climbs on Ahkello Witherspoon to score a superb touchdown from 44 yards.
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If the second period seemed to start like the first, an action overturned the court of the match. While the Steelers have only 4 small points behind, their defense stops the attack of the Pats. Unfortunately for them, on the punt, return Gunner Olsszewski misjudged the trajectory of the ball, which landed on his helmet. New England rookie safety Brenden Schooler then dives for the ball. Thanks to an additional penalty, the Patriots recover the ball on 10 yards from Pittsburgh, which ends with a touchdown on the run from Damien Harris.
Pickett’s time soon?
On the next drive, Mitch Trubisky manages to close the gap through Pat Freiermuth and a two-point conversion, but the end of the match will be just an exchange of punts. The Patriots manage the clock well over the last six minutes, and win in the end by 3 points, 17-14.
The two teams therefore now have a balance sheet, which is not necessarily ideal in the race for the playoffs. Above all, the visual impression left by these two formations was not the most reassuring. The Patriots will have a lot to do in the coming weeks, with a Ravens then Packers sequence that does not seem to their advantage.
On the Steelers side, after a victory against the Bengals in the first week, they will find in Thurdsay Night Football a division rival, the Browns, still without TJ Watt. Above all, this match highlighted the limits of Mitch Trubisky. How long will Mike Tomlin last before throwing Kenny Pickett into the deep end? In any case, the Pittsburgh public at times demanded the entry of the local rookie. Nice for Mitch.