In what was a very hard-hitting game, the Patriots came out with a 23-20 win at Heinz Field yesterday against the Steelers. Highlighting the game were clutch performances by Tom Brady, who led the team down the field within the last minute of the game and Adam Vinatieri, who brought home the win with another clutch kick to seal the deal. "He does it over and over again," Vinatieri said of Brady. "As long as we have a minute left in the game, he and the boys just find a way to get it done. It's pretty impressive just watching the guys work – and do their jobs so well." Jerome Solomon of the Boston Globe, Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald, Jarrett Bell of USA Today, Tom Curran of the Providence Journal and Alan Greenberg of the Hartford Courant.
Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy writes that "When it's all over, the last ring has been won, and Canton is calling -- when Tom Brady's greatest hits album is compiled -- the Pats win over the Steelers will take its place alongside some of those near-mythic playoff moments of the last four years." Brady was outstanding in the fourth quarter as he completed 12 of 12 passes for 168 yards and put points on the board in each of the Patriots last four possesssions. With 1:21 left and the score tied at 20-20, he marched the Patriots to within field goal range where Vinatieri kicked a 43 yarder for the win. "What more can you ask for?" Brady said. "I was hoping we'd stop them, but they scored and I looked at the clock and we had 1:21 left. I was like, 'OK, now it's our turn.' "
Ron Borges of the Boston Globe writes of Adam Vinatieri's uncanny reliability which once again brought the Patriots a last-second win. "Adam is the most clutch kicker in the game," quarterback Tom Brady said.
It was a story of miscues and turnovers, but one miscue comes to mind on the Steelers part may have made all of the difference in the game. Nick Cafordo of the Boston Globe writes that in the second quarter, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antwaan Randle El made a nice run after the catch of forty-nine yards and was deep within Patriots territory. Instead of holding on to the ball as he was getting tackled, he chose to lateral the ball to an unexpecting Hines Ward who then fumbled the ball.
The Patriots came out of Pittsburgh with the win, but suffered some pretty heavy losses on the injury front. Jerome Solomon of the Boston Globe writes that safety Rodney Harrison suffered a knee injury during the game. Harrison was hurt as he came up to help stop a Steelers' running play midway through the first quarter. It appeared Pittsburgh wide receiver Cedrick Wilson was bumped and rolled into Harrison's legs. Harrison was seen on crutches after the game.
Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald writes that offensive lineman Matt Light also left the game with what appeared to be a knee injury and his right leg was placed in an air cast on the field. Cornerback Duane Starks was hurt on the Steelers' first offensive play. He appeared to have a shoulder injury, and returned in the third quarter. Defensive lineman Marquise Hill suffered a leg injury in the first half. He had crutches and an airboot on his left foot/ankle. Running back Kevin Faulk, who caught seven passes for 71 yards, was limping badly. And defensive lineman Richard Seymour had a gash over his left eye.
Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe writes that the Patriots had an impressive day on defense stopping the number one rated running offense by keeping the Pittsburgh Steelers running backs in check. The Pats held the Steelers to 79 yards rushing. "Their running game is their bread and butter," said Green. "We did a good job against that today and put the ball in Ben [Roethlisberger's] hands. We made him have to win the game."
Michael Felger of the Boston Herald highlights the top plays of the game.
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal offers his daily sports blog with Patriots notes and commentary.