The Steelers couldn’t hold their lead at home against the Patriots last year, but they found a way to get it done this time around.
Pittsburgh held the Patriots to a field goal and saw rookie running back Jaylen Samuels make a pair of big plays late to help set up the final points in a 17-10 win. The win moves the Steelers to 8-5-1 on the season, ends a three game Pittsburgh losing streak and leaves them ahead of the Ravens in the race for the AFC North title.
The Patriots did a good job of keeping JuJu Smith-Schuster and Antonio Brown from making plays, but Samuels broke through for big plays time and again on Sunday. He ran 19 times for 142 yards and caught two passes for 30 yards in his biggest game as a professional.
One of those catches was a 20-yard gain on third-and-9 with just over three minutes to play. The throw came after Roethlisberger made some moves in the pocket and froze John Simon long enough to thread a pass over his head. Samuels picked up 15 yards on a run on the next play and the two first downs set up a Chris Boswell field goal try with 2:30 left to play.
Boswell missed earlier in the game and it’s hard to imagine anyone in Pittsburgh felt comfortable about Boswell after last week’s struggles, but he put the kick through and left the Patriots in need of a touchdown to tie the game. As was the case for the entire game after their opening drive, the Patriots couldn’t get it done.
Tom Brady moved the Patriots into the red zone, but a holding penalty on Shaq Mason pushed them back to the 21-yard-line. Brady fired a pair of incompletions to set up a 4th-and-15 with the game on the line. A pass toward Julian Edelman in the end zone was knocked down and the Steelers could exhale.
There won’t be any relief in New England. The Mason penalty was emblematic of a sloppy day for New England that featured other holding calls and too many pre-snap penalties. They also had another scoring chance disappear when Brady’s attempted throwaway was picked off by Steelers cornerback Joe Haden and dropped passes were also an issue throughout the game.
Pittsburgh took over on their 4-yard-line after that play and drove for Boswell’s field goal. That was the playmaking that the Steelers lacked last year and it’s appearance came in the nick of time this season.