Patriots Edge Steelers 27-24, Take Hold of #1 Seed in AFC
Monday, December 18, 2017
The win gives the Patriots their ninth straight AFC East title and puts them in position to have the number one seed in the AFC heading into the playoffs.
Both the Patriots and Steelers are 11-3 on the season, but New England owns the tiebreaker.
Patriots Edge Pittsburgh
Trailing 24-19, Dion Lewis ran it into the end zone from eight yards out and Tom Brady found Rob Gronkowski for a two-point conversion to give the Patriots a 27-24 lead with 56 seconds left to play.
Gronkowski had nine catches for 168 yards in the game to lead the Patriots.
On Pittsburgh’s ensuing possession, Ben Roethlisberger found JuJu Smith-Schuster who ran 69 yards to the Patriots ten-yard line.
Roethlisberger then appeared to find tight end Jesse James for a touchdown to give the Steelers the lead. However, upon review, the play was ruled incomplete as the ball moved when James hit the ground.
On Pittsburgh’s next attempt, Roethlisberger faked a spike and threw to the end zone for Eli Rogers, but the pass was deflected by Eric Rowe and intercepted by Duron Harmon giving the Patriots the win.
Almost Costly Interception
Trailing 17-10 at the half, the Patriots got within one, 17-16, after Brady found Brandin Cooks in the end zone and kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed the extra point.
After the Patriots defense stopped the Steelers and forced a punt, the Patriots took over possession on their own 11-yard line with 6:39 to play in the quarter.
Five plays later, Brady’s pass to James White was intercepted by Pittsburgh’s Vince Williams and returned 13 yards to the Patriots 22-yard line. The interception was Brady’s fourth in his last three games.
Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell would find the end zone five plays later to give the Steelers the 24-16 lead following the extra point.
The Patriots return to action on Sunday, December 24 when they host the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium.
Game time is set for 1 p.m.
Patriots' D, which had struggled all day on third down, comes up with the critical stop. Even when not at their best, Patriots always fight to the end. Admirable trait.— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) December 18, 2017
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