2017 South Side Questions: Do You Feel Better Or Worse About Beating Patriots In Playoffs?

The journey toward the Super Bowl is now well under way with the Pittsburgh Steelers back practicing at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, still informally referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility. With the regular season standing in their way on the path to a Lombardi, there will be questions for them to answer along the way.

We have asked and answered a lot of questions during the preseason and through training camp, but much of the answer-seeking ends in the regular season, and teams simply have to make do with what they have available to them. Still, there will always be questions for us.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond as they develop, looking for the answers as we evaluate the makeup of the Steelers on their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.

Question: Do you feel better, the worse, or the same about the Steelers’ ability to beat the Patriots today?

There are some—perhaps many—who would argue that in a normal universe with a more reasonable catch rule, the Steelers would have beaten the Patriots yesterday at Heinz Field and secured at least one seed higher than New England for the postseason.

But we live in this universe with this catch rule, and that means that Jesse James’ 10-yard touchdown with under 30 second to play never happened. And Ben Roethlisberger’s game-sealing interception two plays later did.

But this was by far the most competitive that the Steelers have been since they last took down the Patriots back in 2011, and in fact they spent a good deal of the game leading the defending Super Bowl champions.

The fact that they did so for the majority of the game without Antonio Brown also says a lot, as many other players stepped up and made big plays, including Le’Veon Bell, Martavis Bryant, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Eli Rogers.

Even though it made not have looked or felt like it, especially at the end, the defense also put up a valiant effort, with their dabbling in man coverage being generally successful. It was really primarily Rob Gronkowski who dominated them, which will of course be an issue.

The run defense is still an obvious concern as well, but the Steelers offense looks like one that can keep pace with just about any other team, even though they ended up only with 24 points. Wiping a drive out with penalties didn’t help, nor did losing Brown.

While the implications of this loss are significant, I do feel that the majority expected the Steelers to lose, but they were far more competitive than anticipated. They were the Patriot’s peers on the night, even sacking and picking of Tom Brady. That at least gives me hope if they face New England again.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Riverstko

    No, We can’t beat these guys. Don’t know why we can’t beat them.

  • Jose F Bilbao

    No Brown, no Haden, no Matakevich and no Shazier. And still the Steelers were within an overturned touchdown of beating the Patriots. The first three should hopefully be back within the next weeks. So there is plenty of hope for a playoff game, even if it is in Foxboro.

    My biggest concerns for a rematch are 1) that Roethlisberger plays better in Heinz Field than away and 2) that the Steelers defence still has to find a way to stop Gronkowski (who should have been suspended for this game). But, after watching the game yesterday, I believe this team can beat the Patriots.

    PS- best news of the night: having Shazier at Heinz Field. That’s much more important that a football game

  • ryan72384

    I felt good about it last night. Not so much today. Seriously who knows if AB is back for the playoffs. All this did was show our team we can control the entire game, match them punch for punch, rattle Brady a little bit and it still wasn’t enough.. And next time it’s in Foxboro. Man I’m more pissed today than last night. Just complete the catch Jesse!

  • DirtDawg1964

    Both. On the plus side, we went toe to toe with them, trading punches down to the last second. Definitely a game we should have won. I wouldn’t say the defence held up but it made enough plays to put us in position to win. And the offence, minus AB, put up big numbers.

    But the downside is all of the little mistakes we make. Heyward in the neutral zone on 3rd and 1, on a play we blew up to take NE off the field. Except they go on to score a TD. Davis failing to secure the INT (a tough play going against your momentum, but a play tha still needs to be made). And of course, the INT. A throw that never should have been made.

    The worst part is having to put up with all of the dingbats here who think WWIII just broke out and we are all doomed. Good lord. Some people really are a special kind of ridiculous. But so be it.

    Our boys put up a good fight. Should have won that game. Could have won that game. But shoulda, coulda, and woulda don’t add up to anything.

    On to Houston.

  • 2winz

    Yes and no. but I lean closer to no, and heres why. They showed that they could compete with the Patriots. Which is huge, they showed more fight than in the playoffs. They were without haden which would help mitchell possibly help out on gronk. we were also without AB for majority of the game. If we have our entire offense and defense healthy, we have a shot. So That counts for something.

    However, I also say no for several reasons. for starters, Patriots were missing a whole lot of their starters so thats one thing to consider and they still got away with the W.

    2nd, I dont expect the league to give us a fair officiating crew.. The play to Jesse James can be argued both ways, even though any non patriots fan will say it should not have been overturned, and I must again emphasize any non patriots fan, its not just steelers fans. But see for me.. how Bryant was held for like 5 seconds on his td catch and it was not called is beyond me. its tough enough to beat the patriots, its even tougher to beat them when you can see as clear as day that the refs are going to help the patriots any way they can. Somebody on this site called it, we will get bogus calls and they might get called for a false start. yup, precisely. I dont want to blame the refs though because we should have still won.

    And lastly, i say no because its going to be even tougher to beat them in new england. if you watched brady start off the 2nd half when the crowd was taking bathroom breaks..thats how easily he will be able to drive it in new england. Not to mention if brady even gets touched at all, their fans will oo and ahh as brady was child abused and the refs will be ready to call more bogus stuff.

    P.S. Mike Mitchell needs to go. Sorry but I firmly believe we need to find a better replacement.

  • CP72

    Here’s my take. Rocky didn’t knockout Drago when he cut him. He just proved to himself that Drago is just a man.
    I think this what happened yesterday.
    This team can now go into Foxboro and know they can win. The Patriots are not invincible.

    BTW…I know everyone is ready to fast forward to the AFC championship game. Don’t sleep on Jacksonville. They’re going to be a tough out.

  • michael young

    You had me at Rocky. Good analogy though. It’s almost like the year the Giants lost to the Patriots to give them their perfect regular season……then…….we all know what. I see where your head is at. Also, if you just figure out a better way to contain Gronk, what else did they really have? Sean Davis has had a really rough couple of weeks. He needs to bounce back, and quickly. We need him playing high level ball going into the playoffs.

  • kdubs412

    It makes me feel better that butler and Tomlin finally admitted defeat and did what every yinzer has been screaming for for years and played press man for most of the game, which clearly slowed down their offense and gave us a competitive game with them for the first time in what feels like forever. It makes me feel worse that in spite of this the coaching is still so dysfunctional they didn’t even attempt to double cover Gronkowski and clearly had no plan for what to do if tackled in bounds on second and goal at the end, even when they had a very lengthy delay to discuss it (and not for nothing, martavis wasn’t even out there for the last two plays). I dunno man. I think we’re more talented. But the coaching/leadership just is not at the same level

  • kakello34

    I can say one thing with certainty, we aren’t beating the Pats TWICE in one year. So maybe there’s a silver lining to this. Steelers never got to a Super Bowl when they had to go through the Pats but the are due after this game and having all our pieces intact, including Mcdonald.

  • The Chin

    Better

  • Nolrog

    The same. I never thought we had a chance to beat them in the playoffs, and now that we have to play in New England, I still don’t think we have a chance of beating them in the playoffs.

    Someone said (can’t remember if it was on the forums or one of the sports writers), why should the Steelers plan their entire off season to beat 1 team. I give you Exhibit A . . . . . . because that is the one team we both have to go through and cannot beat in order to win the SB.

  • Wayde Philpot

    The Steelers did a fantastic job vs the Patriots yesterday minus Brown, Shazier and Haden all things considered. Says alot about the team. It wouldve been ideal to beat them yesterday to help secure homefield in playoffs. If Steelers and Pats win out, Pats remain 1 seed with homefield throughout (unless they lose in divisional round). Im confident the Steelers can beat them or any other team in the league.

  • Wayde Philpot

    Steelers have 2 home losses (Jags and Pats) and 1 away loss (Bears). Ben had his worst game at home vs the Jags.

  • Conserv_58

    As painful as this loss is there is no doubt that the Steelers can hang with and beat them. The defense did an admirable job, but Butler and Carnell have to figure out how to deal with Gronk. Sean Davis, alone, is not the answer.

  • Jose F Bilbao

    Indeed, but the Steelers have scored an average of 28.2 points per game at home vs 20.8 away. Surprisingly enough, it’s the defence that has performed better when playing away, allowing an average of 16.4 points per game vs 23.3 at home. After the game yesterday, I do not have much hope on the defence keeping New England under 20 points; we will need to score a lot and keep Brady on the sidelines in order to beat New England in Foxboro.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    Worse. The Steelers showed grit but the referees showed that arbitrary application of nonsensical rules that don’t make sense to the average fan will carry the day.

  • SnoopDogg123

    Feel better, like you mentioned we should have Brown and Haden back for playoffs. Fingers crossed nobody else gets hurt. However I don’t think we’ll play New England again anyways. If the playoffs started today, New England would play either Baltimore or KC which is bad match up for them

  • Jeff McNeill

    No difference. Everyone is assuming the Pats win out. The Bills will not be an easy game for them so the Steelers could still get the one seed.

  • Marcel Chris Chauvet

    Based on the way things unfolded on the field against the Patriots, I feel better. Based on the way things unfolded in the booth and between the officials, I feel much worse. The Steelers can (and did) beat this team. No question. And the man coverage was much better than I thought it would be without Haden. Getting him healthy and back in the fold will only help. The blueprint is there. As far as the officials go… if you discount the illegal touching penalty(which is basically just an incomplete pass and not really a penalty at all), the Pats were called for only one penalty. That is truly remarkable in any game. It’s astonishing with the track record this crew has shown. I don’t believe in coincidence.

  • Jonathan Bell

    no.
    that was our chance to reverse what is now primarily a mental toughness issue.
    NE never goes away, to their credit.
    We needed one more score, even if it was just a FG, to put them away. And we didn’t do it. We shrank from the moment. The two possessions before the last desperation drive were characterized by tepid, play-not-to-lose play calling. And we paid the price. We put ourselves in a position where a JJ TD could be overturned…never should have gotten to that point.
    When it comes to NE, they are in our heads and we show a clear discomfort with going for the jugular.

  • PittShawnC

    Much better. Despite Gronk’s day, the D gave the O the ball with 3:56 left to win the game.
    After allowing 19pts after 56 minutes.
    Without Shazier. Without Haden.

    Also, for what it’s worth, let’s not try to sound too much like Bengal fans after ever game vs the Steelers.
    We weren’t robbed. The game wasn’t rigged.
    We blew it.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    To be honest Matthew, I am not sure because there are big factors and some work in our favor while others don’t.

    Positives:

    1. We ‘beat’ the Pats without our top corner for the whole game so getting Haden back has to be a big boost if we play them again.

    2. We ‘beat’ the Pats without Antonio Brown for a lot of the game and it sounds like we may getting him back for the playoffs. If so, that should be a big factor in a potential rematch.

    3. We finally got to Brady and made him make mistakes. It shows he is fallible and that has to be a major morale boost.

    Negatives:

    1. I am pretty sure the NFL just handed the Patriots Foxboro for the playoffs and that isn’t good for a rematch. As well as I think we can matchup with them we aren’t the same team on the road and that matters. We just barely eeked out a win at home that the refs stole so what does that say for our road chances? Can AB and haden tip that balance enough?

    2. Despite the positives I listed, the Patriots history with us and this outcome have to be in the players heads. First it is a decade of being dominated by the Pats and now it becomes “even when we beat them we can’t win”. Add that with problem one of likely having to go to Foxboro and all those positives don’t sound so great anymore.

    3. The coaching regression in the 4th quarter and particularly on that last Patriots drive. I said it last night and will stress it again that Butler leaving Davis on Gronk like that was absolutely unacceptable. Davis gave up back to back passes of 26 yards, the Pats ran once, and the next play he gave up another 17 yard reception. Patriots go on to score and they proceed to line up Davis 1 on 1 with Gronk for the 2 point conversion. At what point will our coaches show even a remote ability to learn and adapt in those situations. I feel like the coach on the other side is going to take this game and turn it into a seminar for his time while I have trouble figuring out if Butler was even paying attention in the 4th quarter. That to me is the biggest worry of all.

    So on the whole, I think I still feel roughly the same. I think we CAN win but I would pick the Patriots to win if money were on it.

  • IN THIS CORRUPT LEAGUE? NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN!

  • EdJHJr

    I think pats lose to the black crows

  • FanInExile

    I think you had it right last night. NE gave it everything they had, and in the end they needed an overturned call to win the game. Sure, we may not have AB for the playoffs. Even if that’s the case, we showed we can play man coverage without our best cover corner (though Gronk will need different scheming, I admit), and we’ll probably have Vance and Dirty Red back, too. Martavis is out of witness protection, JuJu is a beast, and we got decent pressure from the front 7. Gashmaster Bell isn’t slowing down. And finally, you’ve got an entire team that believes something was stolen from them. I still like our chances.

  • will

    Feel much better……Sundays game was a win and we can do it again in Foxboro. The Pats mystique is gone.

  • Tyler Guilford

    I feel 100% better about beating them further down the line. Gronk is going to be a PITA but maybe we can work something out to limit him. The biggest thing to me which I think should give everyone hope is our ability to get pressure on Brady. It wasn’t every play or even every drive but if AB plays all game and we can get that kind of pressure again, we should beat them. First things first, lock up a first round bye.

  • John Phillips

    Ar home, you kick the field goal.

  • Steve Johnson

    I feel worse, I think they needed that game yesterday. To come that close and still lose. Better yet, the Front 7 couldn’t stop the run in critical times. But most importantly, no answer for Gronk in the 2nd half.

  • will

    especially on the two point conversion!!!

  • Michael James

    Tough one. I’m still undecided.
    On the one hand I think we can definitely match them talentwise and the coaches definitely made some much needed adjustments (man coverage) on defense.
    On the other hand, I think the Pats just got into the Steelers’ heads even more so than before. It’s the same thing why the Bengals almost always lose to the Steelers: a mental problem when you’re facing your nemesis.
    Then there is still the Gronk problem and those little mistakes that the Steelers make and the Pats simply don’t make.

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    couldnt agree more i dont feel comfortable until we actually beat them and letting gronk play catch with brady and not double him is not the answer they should’ve let it be known that hes getting doubled to force brady to use more time searching for his reciever which would led to more pressure/sacks/mistakes

  • LAD

    I feel better about the steelers played. However, there are some issues i have that feel worst.
    I am done trying to arguee with the letter of the law about the reversed TD, but feels that the pats always get the calls in their favor since the tuck rule game back in 2001. But why not apply the letter of the law when the defender pull the jersey of Eli in the interception?why not apply the letter of the law and at least throw the flag in the Martavis TD (one hand was hold and had to do a one hand catch). That is what bugs me and makes me feel worst.
    Last two games, pats have talked to take away the steelers best weapon, and they have literally done that. Last year Bell, yesterday brown… horrible coincidences when all little things happens to the teams playing versus the nfl darling that they intend to make the brady – bellichick legend bigger and bigger.
    But as I said, i believe this team can best the pats even in new England. But god, how I hate the patriots

  • MJK

    ravens will beat them and we can beat ravens at home

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    To be honest i have more questions coming out of this game than i had going into it

  • Buccos9

    Better. The Steelers proved that press man coverage can work against Brady, with one exception. Gronk. Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison said after the game that the Steelers should have double teamed Gronk. Why Keith Butler left Sean Davis out to dry and did not give him help is beyond comprehension. No adjustment at all. This reminded me of the playoff loss to Tim Tebow and the Broncos several years ago. Lebeau left Ike Taylor on an island all game as a Broncos receiver, Demarius Thomas, torched him for over 200 yards. No adjustment. Butler did not fall far from the Lebeau tree.

  • Chad Weiss

    Much better about beating them. The Steelers are the better team and could have played better. Sean Davis is a disaster back there. He has put together at least two absolutely terrible games in a row. Burns played good after another blown coverage but I’m blaming that on his cte. Hilton and Sutton were studs imo . Sean Spence is a nightmare.juju is special,Bryant gets by on his athleticism and is still a very raw wr. Bell needs to be paid. To play this game without brown and still should have w basically a ten man defense and without our best player I can’t wait to play these sob again.

  • Chad Weiss

    I’m blaming Butler on that for repeatedly putting Davis in single coverage with him after repeatedly getting beat like a ragdoll.

  • Chad Weiss

    I can see Jacksonville beating them

  • Chad Weiss

    The problem is we probably gotta play Jax before the pats will

  • FanInExile

    On the MB TD: I listened to the call on local Boston radio (hence my screen name), and that blowhard loser Scott Zolak (local listeners know him) was b*itching that Martavis pushed off. Well, yeah, kinda hard not to when your defender is grabbing your hand like Peppermint Patty, forcing you into a beautiful ONE HANDED CATCH for the score. I think we’ll see more of that – that is, excellent play from Martavis- come January.

    And keep in mind: The Bills are out for blood next week. Gotta teach cheap shot thug Gronk a lesson, you know. Seedings haven’t been sewn up yet. Good chance, but I admit probably less than 50/50, they change from where they stand now.

  • nutty32

    I feel like life sux. and our h.o.f. qb is a douche.

  • tcirish53@gmail.com

    My feelings about this?
    I was very pleased with our play. Could it have been better? Sure.
    Did our lack of a true #1 TE, resulting in having to roll with a very solid #2 TE JJames hurt at a key moment? Yup. I’m looking at you Dobbs and hope you have the most incredible QB3 career ever in the NFL (we took Dobbs in lieu of drafting a TE in last years draft).
    Overall, sans AB, we played the champs right down to the wire. How can you NOT be happy with that?!
    We need to refocus, get that bye, hunker down and finish the regular season with two Ws. And we CAN do that and will.
    This guy TB12 is beatable. For long stretches yesterday he looked human. Not until we stuck 28 on an island vs Gronk did things fall apart.
    Don’t get me wrong – I hate that we lost but I feel much more confident in playing them.
    That game got taken from us but the winning effort, again without AB, was there.

  • Jonathan Bell

    agree with everything…my only point of contention is the assertion of “even when we beat them we can’t win”.
    No, we didn’t beat them. Let’s not delude ourselves.
    I am going to insist on the following: to beat them would have meant- on our last two possessions BEFORE the last desperation possession with under a minute left- to actually string a few first downs together and maybe even score a TD or at least an insurance FG or even simply eat up more clock. One of the possessions was one of the lamest 3 and outs I have ever witnessed. The other not much better.
    That’s not beating anyone, certainly not NE. If you give Brady too many chances he will beat you. Period.
    We were in an excellent position to beat them, but we didn’t. I think all Steeler fans, including myself, need to be clear eyed about this.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    I don’t disagree with your points but I am not coming from a place of delusion here. We literally had them beat until the refs changed the outcome. That counts for something despite the gaffes in getting there.

    Davis and Butler both cost us big time as well and Ben throwing the INT when at a minimum we should have tied it. And you are right about the sorry 3 and out and giving Brady too many chances. Regardless we have to be better but we did have them beat despite all of that.

  • SixburghFan

    Great question, Matthew. I feel a LOT better.

    Win or lose, I wanted to see us be a more aggressive team, offensively and defensively. This game was as much about finding out who we are as it was about winning it. Specifically, I wanted to see two things from this game:

    1. Defensively, would the coaching staff attempt to play a lot of man-to-man coverage. They did. Was it perfect? No. But we showed we can do it. (I’ll get to Gronk later). Our defense hasn’t given Brady this much trouble in a long time. I don’t see how our defense doesn’t have more confidence after this game compared to how must have felt after last year’s Championship game.

    2. Offensively, would we throw the ball to our other receivers, showing trust in them and making the Patriots pay for over-playing Brown? We did. Bryant, Smith-Schuster, James, Rogers and Grimble (and Bell) all were targeted and made big plays. I think Ben will now have more confidence in those guys than he did for much of the season. Those guys will also have more confidence in themselves.

    Do I think we need to make more improvements? Absolutely. But by doing the two things above, we learned a TON about what we can and can’t do and what we need to adjust to increase our chances of beating the Patriots. Now we need the coaches to implement those changes when we see the Patriots next.

    The main fixes, in no particular order:

    1. Double Gronk more often whether in man or zone coverage and make someone else beat you. The Pats will expect this next time but we don’t have a choice. We can’t let him beat us again.

    2. Increase the pressure up the middle on Brady while in man coverage. Don’t let him step up in the pocket. Our d-line did a decent job of this but we may need to reduce our outside rush in favor of sending an extra rusher up the middle.

    3. Stay aggressive offensively. Specifically, throw the ball more often on first down, especially when leading.

    I have more faith now that the coaches will make these adjustments and more. Personally, I think our coaching staff is probably more confident in our schemes and players now (especially defensively) so that we can do stuff we haven’t done before and have wrinkles Brady isn’t used to seeing from us.

  • MJK

    I believe we can beat jacksonville

  • Bradys_Dad

    Honestly I can’t wait to play them again, anywhere. Yes the last plays (TD reversal and questionable pass in to triple coverage leading to a tipped pick off) were unfortunately plays that lead to the outcome but overall we played them straight up and landed as many punches as we took. We may have actually landed a few more but who’s counting. This team can beat the Cheatriots. We need to stay healthy and get AB and Haden (who plays man-to-man better than anyone else on the roster) back and go punch NE right in the mouth on their home turf. The only way to excise this demon is to kick its’ everlasting butt.

  • newguy68

    I’m disappointed in the outcome but not by the way we played. Usually we lose to NE by 10 + points, this one the refs (that was a catch) changed the outcome. I like the play call for one more shot at the end for a TD but not the specific play. Throw the ball to Martavis on a fade. It will either be a TD, incomplete or a PI against NE. I hope to play them again but this time with a healthier AB, Joe Haden and Vance McDonald.

    Thoughts:

    1. Where was Martavis in the 3rd and 4th quarter?

    2. Loved that we played man but sometimes, at least every once and awhile, double-team Gronk.

  • FanInExile

    The gap is closing, and quickly. The trend line vs. this team is clearly up. NE knows it took a lot of luck to win. They’re happy THAT they won, but certainly not HOW. We’ve demonstrated we have what it takes. We exposed their weaknesses. We went toe toe. Some small tweaks, plus an injection of talent returning from injury, and I see a good chance of good outcomes.

  • newguy68

    Jacksonville will soon realize that the playoffs aren’t going to have teams like Indy and Houston in them.

  • D.j. Hoy

    Not sure how anyone wouldn’t feel confident about the Steelers beating the Patriots after yesterday. Look how close it was. I think that was the best the secondary has played in recent memory against Brady. Brady and Gronk are in a class all their own. All you can do is try to limit them.

  • Bobby Lewis

    I actually feel much better about playing them again than I have in like a decade, despite yesterday being one of the toughest regular season losses I can remember in a while.

    It sucks that if we play them again in a month, it’d almost certainly be in New England. But I came away from yesterday’s game wanting to play them in the AFC Championship game, which is a complete 180 from where I was 11 months ago after they again beat the hell out of us.

    I guess it just comes down to thinking the Steelers are better than them. We probably should’ve won and we played the majority of the game without our best player, one of our two or three best defenders and our best cornerback. Presumably, two of those three guys will be back should we play them again.

    Yesterday’s loss was hard to take for a bunch of reasons (all but losing homefield, likely not being able to rest our guys in either of the last two games and all but guaranteeing a game with Jacksonville in the 2nd round), but one of the positives was I thought we outplayed them. After Brady completed that bomb to Cooks on the first possession, I thought it was gonna be more of the same, but the defense played (maybe?) it’s best game against Brady since the 2011 win. Ben continued to play really well. Martavis played his best game of the season. Le’Veon was his typical awesome self.

    They’ve yet to play us when we’ve got everybody healthy and on the field. It stings now, but I think we’ll look back on yesterday’s loss and laugh. I’m feeling the most confident I’ve felt in a while that the Steelers can, and will, beat New England and win the Super Bowl.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    This was it. This was their chance.

    Look, I don’t know if the Steelers are just playing against the Patriots, or if the Patriots are still cheating, or if the NFL are flag-waving fans of the Pats and involved in the outcome of these games. All I know is, for whatever reason, the Steelers typically lose a major player before the game (while the league ensured that Gronk would be there with a lower suspension than was appropriate), and karma, or whatever Patriots cocktail they bring, always, always beats the Steelers.

    I’m seriously sick of getting up for these games. I don’t care that it was close this time. This was their chance. Now they can’t rest players in week 17 and have to get past Jacksonville to ultimately travel TO NE, where more than half of the league has formally complained of illegal tactics, and do this all over again. Gross.

    This was their chance.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    Steelers will have to get by Jacksonville now, along with NE. Things just got significantly harder.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    Have to play the Jags now, so going to NE is far from a certainty.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    For sure, kind of unbelievable in today’s NFL.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    He’ll still be the coach for the rest of the season tho, so why would it change.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    Yeah it just seems like if there’s any opening, the universe is going to take it away from the Steelers in these games, even if they’re close. Can’t feel much better for the players.

  • RJMcReady

    I feel worse. Do not want to go back to the house of horrors where everything goes right for them and everything goes wrong for us.

    Our team plays well on the road, pretty much everywhere, except NE. Last night was about as tough an outcome for the Steelers as I have seen in a long time. Someone brought up the 94′ AFCCG against the Chargers and that feels about right with the highs an lows of the ending.

  • NCSteel

    Don’t forget the 3am wakeup calls and the non fuctioning headsets and the offense night being able to hear and the defense trying to be pumped in a quiet stadium.
    There is always a chance but we were robbed and now the chances of winning went down dramatically.

  • Chris92021

    I feel worse because this offense is still inconsistent and led by a guy who should not be coaching us. Lost in all this chaos is Big Ben threw Todd Haley under the bus again. Big Ben should have spiked the ball and then gone to the sideline and have a scream fest while Boswell kicked the game tying field goal to send the game into OT. I believe that Big Ben will ponder retirement again until Haley goes. Big Ben will force Mike Tomlin and the front office to say “it’s him or me” this offseason.

    I feel worse because this defense is still under the control of Keith Butler. Butler asked Sean Davis, who would have been a Pro Bowler in the 1990s to guard the most freakish athlete to play tight end and honestly, the only passing option the Patriots had, to cover Gronkowski. No help really. Just all on Davis. Butler asked Davis to do something beyond his skill level.

    I feel worse because even though the Steelers have the most talented roster in the league, we have an average at best coaching staff. This team will get a first round bye but they will get destroyed in Foxboro barring an injury to Gronkowski and/or Brady in the next several weeks. I feel worse because it seems every officiating call goes against us, right or wrong. I thought this might be the season to get 7. Nope, It won’t happen. Oh Jesse, why didn’t you just cover the ball after you caught it at the 1!??? This is the NFL. Extensions don’t help anyone unless your name is Antonio Brown! Ugh.

  • RSteelerz

    I won’t be encouraged by beating them unless this trend that we have had against them in recent years stops.

    2015 Reg. Season
    No Bell (Susp), No Bryant (Susp), No Pouncey (Injured)

    2016 Reg. Season
    No Ben (Injured), No Heyward (Injured)
    No Bryant (Susp), No Wheaton (Injured)

    2016 AFCCG
    No Bell (Injured 1st Q.), No Wheaton (Injured), No Heyward (Injured)

    2017 Week 15
    No AB (Injured 1st half), No Haden (Injured) No Shazier (Injured), No Gilbert (Susp), No McDonald (Injured)

    I understand that Gronk did not play in last year’s AFCCG, but that doesn’t trump not having your best D lineman with no Bell and down to your #4 WR and a practice squad WR.

    I understand thst the Pats were without Hightower, Edelman, Hogan and a couple role players, but does that Trump a big 3 of AB, Shazier and Haden? I think not.

    The truth is even though Shazier and Haden were out, AB wins this game even with the other 2 out. The most alarming thing is that they have yet to play a full game against the core Killer B’s of Bell, Ben and Brown alone!

    That’s not even mentioning that this was Bryant’s first game against them! Can we at least have Ben, Bell and AB against them? If we meet them again in the playoffs with AB and Haden back without losing anyone in the game, we beat them.

    However; I’m beginning to wonder if we will ever have our high impact players available against them. This is what is truly frustratingly bizarre from my standpoint.

  • Bobby Lewis

    I get that, but Jacksonville doesn’t scare me, especially in Pittsburgh. Ben and the offense are playing significantly better than they were in October. Not saying it’ll be a blowout, but I’ll take my chances at home against Blake Bortles in the playoffs

  • LucasY59

    it is good to know the Steelers can beat the patriots (but doesnt give me a good feeling when you know they have to beat the refs as well)

    will see how the playoff matchups/seeding turns out before I can really tell you if I feel better or worse

    …pretty hard to feel better after a loss, instead of a win (especially one that was stolen after they had won the game)

  • Ravens Team Gynecologist

    I feel about the same.

    Steelers proved they could keep pace and even had the strength to beat them without some key pieces.

    However, this was a banged up Patriots team too. Are we going to face a healthier version of this team on the road? Are we going to lack the killer instinct up by 8 and play Marty-ball again or did we learn our lesson?

  • RJMcReady

    It’s excruciating to think we haven’t had a full game with Ben, Bell, Brown and Bryant together against the Patriots.

    It’s even worse thinking that yesterday’s game may been our last chance to ever do so.

    Very frustrating.

  • Ravens Team Gynecologist

    So, maybe the Pats take the #1 seed and lose to the #6 Chargers in the divisional round?

  • AndyR34

    Give Belicheat more than a week to prepare and all of that but…but…but goes away.

  • AndyR34

    The referees didn’t change the outcome…the bozo in NY changed the outcome.

  • AndyR34

    will…I love your comments many times. Today you are delusional.

  • RJMcReady

    I disagree on Haley. Look at Ben’s stats since 2012. They are the best #’s of his career while Haley has drastically reduced the sack count for Roethlisberger ultimately prolonging Ben’s career.

    The Steelers just didn’t get it done. We had some Drive killing penalties in the fourth that got the ball back to NE.

    We should have won that game.

  • AndyR34

    It won’t…and it won’t change for next year either. This is Tomlin’s defense, not Butler’s. Butts is just the errand boy.

  • AndyR34

    No…the playoffs will have teams like Pittsburgh in them.

  • AndyR34

    It’s the old player execution thing…if we just tell them to execute better they will…no need to adjust the defense.

  • Chris92021

    I am not totally disagreeing with you. Having said that, Big Ben clearly misses playing for his good buddy Bruce Arians. Don’t be surprised in the offseason if Big Ben passive aggressively talks retirement again and kinda say that “well, if Haley goes, I’ll stay” type of talk or try to finangle a trade to play for Arians in Arizona. I bet Rapaport will be on that like the NFL on Bud Light. Dilly dilly.

  • RJMcReady

    Aryans may have worn out his welcome Arizona, but we will see.

    Ben loves the dramatic and the attention, so anythings possible.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    Do you really think so? I guess I thought Tomlin likely weighs in on overall philosophy and approach each week, I assumed Butler calls the game for the most part.

  • LucasY59

    …or the #4 Chefs …or the Ravens?

    will see what the final seedings are, but Pats wont have it easy, they can definitely be beaten this yr…they are very lucky they didnt lose the game and end up the #3 seed (otherwise they might not have made it out of the WC rd)

  • Ichabod

    Worse…we should have won the game.
    No matter what the reasons were, we didn’t
    You can blame the rules, the refs, or what ever.
    We had the game “won” 3 times
    1) James non-td
    2) Davis missed int
    3) offensive possession before pats final score…bad play calling, bad execution lead to games only 3 and out …a couple 1st downs and we win!

    And we still could have pulled it out but no…again, bad play. call and bad execution

    Given this game and the recent history, I don’t see is winning at NE.

    Not saying they can’t. But I feel chances were better yesterday

  • LucasY59

    correntes crew has some say in this (but cant say im surprised since they were also involved in another BS goaline TD turned non TD) …the penalties werent a big factor, but they were very much in the pats favor

  • RJMcReady

    On a side note, I remember in 2010 thinking we had no chance to make the Super Bowl because NE came into our house during the regular season beat us 39-26 got the #1 Seed and had beaten the Jets 42-7 in Foxboro during the regular season.

    Then the Jets went up to Foxboro and did the unthinkable beating the Patriots in the Divisional round with Mark Sanchez and company.

    The Steelers came back from 21-3 deficit to beat the Ravens and had a raucous first half against the Jets and end up AFC Champions.

    So anything’s possible.

  • Rocksolid20

    And we will find his replacement , it just won’t be
    this late in the season . Next year he is gone .

  • Rocksolid20

    That sets up as a game McDonald will sit out .
    It’s his MO .

  • Ichabod

    Disagree on the gap Closing.
    If it wasn’t for jjss amazing catch and run, the feeling would have been different.
    It would have been same ol’ same ol’…we can’t take a game and close It out against the Pats but they do against us

  • Rocksolid20

    Was there anyone in the stadium or watching
    on TV that didn’t know Gronk was their go to guy on the two
    point conversion ?

  • Rocksolid20

    I hope Jax doesn’t beat them , that would mean Jax beat us too ?!

  • newguy68

    Okay

  • mike

    I gotta say I’m normally glass half empty kinda person but I am actually excited and surprised how we played bc I had a “gotta see it to believe it” mentality with this match up and they were right there with a chance multiple times. still sucks but I actually like the thought of winning in Foxborough and having their fans feel that gut wrenching, life sucking feeling of having ur season ended in ur house. I know it could very bad too and u should b careful wut u wish for but I am surprisingly optimistic given how we played especially with the pieces we were missing

  • Darth Blount 47

    If you get to the town called “Better” and then continue on down the road to “Worse,” what’s the name of the next town that has only tumbleweeds and is located smack dab in the middle of the desert?

  • Charles Mullins

    Better. They bleed.

  • will

    Yes …..evidently Coach Butts

  • will

    Even AB said the team had made a statement.

  • 2winz

    definitely, its too far into the season and hes the best option we have. i just hope haden being back will maybe free up mitchell to cover gronk next time around because he fails to have situational smarts. I knew each and every time Brady would go to Gronk, and im not even a player. on 3rd downs, double gronk! idc about cooks beating us deep, but not gronk! help Davis out, its not that hard

  • Larry Kraus

    This game showed me that unless the Steelers play a truly perfect game it won’t be allowed. The refs literally called just 2 penalties on them. That’s insane from a group that is known for calling penalties. This game just reinforced the idea that the pats are the nfls favorite sons.

  • 2winz

    I can only hope that the bills defense and/or jets defense take them down but its hard to believe it will happen.

  • Larry Kraus

    I’ve been a fan since 1969 and I for one won’t even bother watching a game between these two teams again. Either let both teams play or call penalties against both teams. This game was a farce.

  • AndyR34

    They lost…they couldn’t cover Gronk…at crucial moments, Ben flinched and Brady didn’t…that’s the only statement they made. AB is delusional also. Maybe he suffered a concussion rather than a leg injury?

  • mike

    hargrave got held big time on a big 3rd down play in the 2nd half and it was right in front of tom about to throw and u could see his jersey stretch, its not like it was in the middle of a scrum on a running play and its not like he was far away from the play. the penalties seemed to come at the worst possible times too

  • Chad Weiss

    Lol playoff standings aren’t set in stone yet

  • will

    Lol