What Did We Learn From the Patriots – Steelers Season Opener?

The New England Patriots started the new NFL season right where they left off in February: with a win and with lots of celebration going on in the small town of Foxborough, Massachusetts. Of course, there was a different kind of celebration and certainly a different, more vulnerable opponent than the Seattle Seahawks. It was championship banner day and nothing could possibly go wrong for the champions, not with Tom Brady leading the team on the floor and not withRob Gronkowskiscoring basically at will.

So putting aside New England’s solid display, what did the NFL fans learn from the season opener between the Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers?

Patriots’ Fantastic Duo Is Unstoppable

Tom Brady hasn’t been touched by the Deflategate scandal. He led the offense like a true champ and also made some history in the process. The quarterback set a new NFL record for most wins with a single team (161) and also broke a franchise record for consecutive completed passes in a game (19). Overall, Brady was 25 of 32; four of those passes were decisive and ended with a touchdown. It was his 23rd career game with four or more touchdown passes, third in the all-time leaderboard.

The other part of New England’s success was Rob Gronkowski. Gronkowski was simply spectacular scoring three touchdowns, including the first two of this regular season. He became the first NFL player to hammer the Steelers with three or more TD in multiple games. But enough about numbers, it’s Gronk time.

 

 

Do Your Job, New England Style

Bill Belichick’s signature quote “Do your job” applies to everybody not just Brady and Gronkowski. And this type of attitude can help under-the-radar football players turn the corner and become NFL stars. This seems to be the case with running back Dion Lewis. He didn’t play a single game last year due to injury; moreover, in his first two seasons in Philly he recorded 192 total yards in 24 games. On Thursday, with his new team, Lewis received a total of 120 yards. Yes, that’s just ONE game. In the next, he might as well break the 192-yard mark. What is New England doing, many GMs might wonder?

Steelers Lack of Execution

Pittsburgh didn’t play that bad. They just failed to execute when it mattered most. Ben Roethlisberger played a solid passing game (351passing yards) but Darrius Hayward-Bey and Antonio Brown couldn’t finish the plays properly. Brown even got sacked in the first quarter. Yes, the wide receiver:

He did extend his running streak though with 33 straight games with at least 50 yards and 5 receptions.

And if we also add Josh Scobee’s missed field-goals, then our perspective over the Steelersis complete.

Off-The-Field Noise

Besides their on-the-field mediocre performance, the Steelers also complained about some off-the-field New England-bound matters. No, nobody stole their playbook, nobody spied them, and nobody made an attempt to deflate footballs. This time it’s about the headset communication or lack thereof. According to Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin, the headset communication was a mess and apparently “that’s always the case” in New England. Tomlin had to listen to the Patriots radio broadcast for the majority of the first half.

 

A new scandal on the horizon? Or a new perfect NFL season for New England (in 2007, following the ‘Spygate’ scandal, the team finished the regular season 16-0)?

By: Florian Gheorghe

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