After an entire offseason where the only football talk was about if deflating balls was intentional, we as fans were finally treated to some regular season NFL football.
Ironically it was the Superbowl winning champion New England Patriots (the team with the quarterback accused of being part of deflating footballs) vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers. Many were wondering if future Hall of Fame quarterback, Tom Brady was going to play in this game, thus many people picked the Pittsburgh Steelers to pull it out if Jimmy Garoppolo was under center. That is not a knock on Garoppolo but he’s no Tom Brady.
However in true NFL fashion, Tom Brady got his suspension overturned so the Patriots were at full strength. That was going to be a big advantage considering that the Steelers lost their starting running back, Le'Veon Bell to suspension.
Leading up to the game, many people had their eyes on Brady and how he would do. Despite spending more time in courtrooms fighting his “Deflategate” suspension than actually practicing, Tom Brady looked stellar in the NFL opener.
The Patriots jumped out to a 14-3 lead into halftime and the Brady to Gronk show was in full effect. The Steelers on defense and special teams looked out of sorts, and to be honest, the Steelers could have only been trailing at the half 14-9, if it weren't for their mistakes.
The Steelers team outfitted in their trademark Yellow and Black, came storming back. At one point, Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and company trimmed the lead down to a touchdown, 14-21, but that is as close as they would get.
The New England Patriots would employ the technique of “throw the ball to Rob Gronkowski” and the Patriots win against the Steelers 28-21 on home soil.
*By the way, shoutout to DeAngelo Williams who turned back the clock Thursday night but I’ll get into that on Weekend Warriors*
I think a lot of sports shows are going to say something like this… “Brady was sensational and this was his statement game” and to be honest with you that is 100 percent true.
Brady was 25/32, threw for 288 yards passing, and 4 touchdowns with no interceptions. In other words, Brady did not mess around and was fantastic as usual, but can Gronk get some love too? Rob Gronkowski aka Gronk had the pleasure of doing his signature spike three times in the endzone. Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski connected 5 times with 3 of those connections resulting in touchdown passes. The one thing the Patriots can count on is that Brady and Gronkowski will be probably the best one-two punch in the league and it hurts me to say it because I still love the Indianapolis Colts.
Nevertheless, there are a lot of kinks specifically on defense. Antonio Brown made the cornerbacks look like scrubs on a consistent bases (specifically Malcom Butler and Bradley Fletcher). DeAngelo Williams stomped all over the seven in the Patriots box. Also despite the Steelers’ defense looking really bad, kicker Josh Scobee missed 2 field goals, and the secondary communication issues, the Patriots must be kicking themselves for allowing it to be so close. However a win is a win and I bet it is a satisfying one for the New England Patriots, or maybe not.
The win did not come without controversy.
That’s right. You just saw was Mike Tomlin admit that the Pittsburgh Steelers headsets were not working for the majority of the first half. He also outright said that whenever the Steelers go into Gillette Stadium, there are problems with the headsets. The thing about this video is, the NFL themselves are in charge of the headsets not the Patriots. Also Bill Belichick also commented and said “we had to switch to microphones a couple times. Our Communication system was not very good.”
Even Ben Roethlisberger commented and said “There were a few plays that didn’t come in, but that happens, that’s nothing new.” Thus when one looks at these quote Tomlin looks like a sore loser who is using the patriot’s reputation as cheaters as an excuse. To be honest at first glance I am inclined to agree.
I do think the key words in Tomlin’s speech is “it always happens here.”
Tomlin said here as in Gillette Stadium. So the question I think that needs to be asked is, why is there always communication issues at Gillette Stadium. Also Tomlin also said “coach to coach” meaning in theory, Ben might not be affected but the head coach cannot make final say on certain pivotal plays, which can screw a team over.
When one looks at it this way, Tomlin’s words might hold some weight.
In my opinion, there may or may not be truth to it, but Tomlin is using the Patriots new reputation to paint them as bad guys, otherwise he would have spoken about this issue long before today if it always happens. That's just my opinion, and to be honest, does not mean much.
What does mean a lot is if more head coaches will follow Tomlin’s lead and if this new development turns into a massive story.