|New England Patriots||7||13||10||3||33|
Let’s get this season started. The defending Super Bowl Champions New England Patriots start off their title defense with a home game matchup against the Steelers, who beat the Patriots 17-10 last year. The Soap Opera Steelers had divested themselves from Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. Brown then proceeded to divest himself from the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders and join the Patriots one day before this game, although he was not eligible to play. Without some of their highest profile players, Pittsburgh sought to prove that they can still compete with the best teams in the NFL.
This was the banner night for the Patriots and they played like it. New England took an early lead with a little trickery from Edelman and never looked back, putting up a 20-0 scoreline at half. The Patriots defense showed how strong they would be all year; the Steelers offense showed how ineffective they would be all year. No Steelers drive in the first half went for more than thirty yards. Donte Moncrief caught three million dollars worth of passes on ten targets for a mighty seven yards, had three million dollars of drops, and also had five yards of penalties. The Steelers Center was definitely not the one at fault on this play (Clip with sound).
There were two concerns that came out of this game for Patriots fans. The first was Sony Michel achieving a very unimpressive fourteen yards rushing on fifteen attempts. It should be acknowledged that he was hit at the line of scrimmage almost every rush, but his inability to juke defenders or break tackles is a major concern. The second was a shoulder injury to right tackle Marcus Cannon on top of a lingering ankle injury from the preseason. Nevertheless, New England fans were excited by a dominant opening game and the team already looked poised to make a push for the playoffs and even contend for the championship.
The Steelers would play at home (and lose) against the Seahawks the next week among a truly disfunctional start to the season. The Patriots got ready to compete against their 2018 not-defensive coordinator (but basically the defensive coordinator) Brian Flores in the September Miami heat.