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Patriots 41, Steelers 27

A tale of two quarterbacks, one a two-time Super Bowl MVP, the other a record-setting rookie. The difference?

               Tom              Ben
Att/Comp      14/21            14/24
Yards          207              226
TD/INT         2/0              2/3

Rushing yards? Pittsburgh 163, New England 126. Corey Dillon broke a 25-yarder on a play the Patriots should not have been able to make, but for a stupid holding penalty on Aaron Smith. Holding by a lineman on 3rd and 17? Silly Aaron Smith.

Cowher drops to 1-4 in championship games at home. I can't put a whole lot of blame for this one on him: three picks and a fumble (a rather meaningless one, but when you can't get a yard when you absolutely need it, that says something) will pretty much lead to defeat for any team.

The screwy thing of it all is this: the game could have easily gone the other way. Another pick deep in the red zone run back for a TD, a big play on offense and a silly penalty. There's a 14-point turn-around on the INT alone. 10 other Patriots points on turnovers. The Steelers stopped the run and they played solid special teams. The difference here was at the quarterback position, and at that position only.

Ben's a rookie, and the off-season will determine the success of the Steelers next year: does Bettis come back? Do Ward and Burress? Do the Steelers bother to keep Kendrell Bell? A 16-2 season is nothing to be sorry about, but they should have won.

I wish the Patriots the best of luck in the Super Bowl (they don't need it), and I'm rootin' for the AFC to put a pounding on the weakling Eagles.

9 Responses to "Patriots 41, Steelers 27"

  1. Erik, very classy comments. I've read your blog for a while and as a Pats fan have been very interested in how you'd react to the title game. Both teams were evenly matched at almost every position except the QB. One the flip side of your analysis, the game could have easily been 41 - 10 if Asante Samuel and Eugene Wilson had held on to a few picks.

    I've never been prouder to be a Boston sports fan, but I also know that Ben is going to be one helluva NFL quarterback.

    We'll go de-feather the Eagles for you!

  2. Eagles' D will shock the country and help the bird take the Super Bowl. Go Eagles! Andy never looses after a bye week! Wooo, EAGLES! 😛

  3. I had a feeling that is what Ben's stat line would look like after this game. But I did expect the game to be much closer. The made the big plays early against the run and once the lead was big enough, Pittsburgh had to throw more than they wanted to.

    You know how I feel about the Super Bowl. They may be an underdog, but my Eagles will fly high and prevail. My thoughts on their game will be in my blog soon. And as for the future of the Steelers? Well, the AFC is getting pretty damn crowded with great teams if you ask me. Indeed, Ben is gonna make one helluva NFL QB.

  4. The reason I'm glad the Steelers lost is that I'm from Cleveland...

  5. As long as the Steelers don't get into salary cap hell, I think they'll be quite good for the next few years. Good young quarterback, depth at receiver, good ground game, and a stout defense.

    Big Ben really impressed me with how he came out in the second half. A lot of lesser QBs would've folded, but he came out and led his team on three straight scoring drives. Very impressive.

  6. The difference here was at the quarterback position, and at that position only.

    Not to take anything away from Brady, but the real difference was Belichick. This guy is a football savant. No one prepares a team better.

  7. Ryan, Belichick is the same coach that he was when he lost game after game in Cleveland. Coaching made at most a tiny, teeny difference in this AFCC game.

    Ben had the throws to make and didn't make them, resulting in INTs. If Ben makes those throws, you're wondering how Belichick could have possibly lost 34-21 (or worse, as we've seen what the Steelers can do with a nice lead on the Pats). How could he lose?!? After all, he's "such a genius." Uh huh, no.

  8. well that's one way to look at it. And the game was certainly closer than the final score, but you're suggesting that the defensive schemes had nothing to do with little ben's performance.

    Thanks for taking the conversation to the gutter so quickly though, that was helpful.

  9. Defensive schemes had little to do with it, you bet. Ben made bad throws. Take three to four back and the Steelers win. Take one or two back, and take away Aaron Smith's incredibly stupid penalty, and the Steelers win. Heck, let Plaxico catch that pass in the end-zone and it's a 7-point game.

    Defensive scheming had little to do with it. The Steelers ran, the Steelers passed. I'd say they did so effectively except for about four throws, three of which were picked, and one of which resulted in at the very least a 10-point swing.