The Pittsburgh Steelers came so close, but were so far.
The Steelers will not be punching their ticket to Super Bowl LI in Houston. Instead, the New England Patriots will face the Atlanta Falcons down south in two weeks, as the Patriots beat the Steelers 36-17.
The Steelers couldn’t get their offense going, and a majority of that was due to the groin injury of Le’Veon Bell in the first quarter. Bell went down and DeAngelo Williams subbed in, rushing the ball 14 times for 34 yards. Williams tacked on a single touchdown.
Bell rushed the ball only six times for a meager 20 yards.
“I got banged up, still tried to go, but it got progressively worse,” Bell said. “I couldn’t be myself. I felt like I couldn’t burst anymore. I felt like I was holding the team back.”
“I thought DeAngelo did a great job,” said Roethlisberger. “Le’Veon is a special back. We all know that. We missed not having him out there. I don’t want to take anything away from what DeAngelo did. DeAngleo found his way open and made plays for us. I can’t say enough about what he did stepping in for probably the best back in the game.”
Meanwhile, Cobi Hamilton had the Steelers second- and final- touchdown. Hamilton caught a 30-yard pass from Roethlisberger. After the game, Roethlisberger talked about the lack of opportunities in the end zone.
“The red zone trips need to turn into seven points,” said Roethlisberger. “They were better than us. You have to score when you are down there. There were other missed opportunities, whether we didn’t execute well enough, whether plays weren’t made by me or other guys.”
Roethlisberger tried to get his offense moving, but it wasn’t effective. Roethlisberger finished the day with 314 yards on 31/47 completed passes. However, he threw an interception in the fourth quarter to cornerback Eric Rowe.
Finally, kicker Chris Boswell converted his one field goal attempt from 23-yards out, but missed his lone extra point attempt.
The Steelers weren’t the favorites against the Patriots, and it showed. The Patriots dominated the game, with Tom Brady throwing three touchdown passes to Chris Hogan (twice) and Julian Edelman. LeGarrette Blount, a former Steeler at one point, rushed for a single touchdown.
Kicker Stephen Gostkowski converted all three of his field goal attempts from 31, 47 and 26 yards out.
On defense, the Steelers found Tom Brady twice for a sack, with rookies Javon Hargrave and Sean Davis recording single sacks. Lawrence Timmons led the defense, with nine solo tackles and five assisted tackles.
There were questionable calls in the game, especially when Brady fumbled the ball in the third quarter. Hargrave recovered the ball, but the referees still ruled it to be New England’s ball. Either way, the Steelers weren’t good enough to get the win at Gillette Stadium.
The Steelers’ season is officially over. The team has four players that have been selected to the NFL Pro Bowl, which will be played next weekend in Orlando. As for the Super Bowl, it will air on February 5.
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