Asst. Sports Editor
The New England Patriots looked to improve to 1-1 in the hopes of not starting 0-2. This would be the first season in 20 years that they would have started 0-2. That wasn’t the case this week as the Patriots were able to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 17-14. They were able to attack the Steelers defense, as the Steelers were without their star edge rusher T.J. Watt.
The offense, led by second year quarterback Mac Jones, looked noticeably different from their game against the Miami Dolphins last week. Jones was 21-for-35, throwing for 252 yards with one touchdown and one interception. His lone touchdown pass was caught by Nelson Agholor who posted six catches for 110 yards and the touchdown. Agholor was not the only Patriots wide receiver who made an impact in this game. Jakobi Meyers also caught nine passes for 95 yards.
The passing game looked on point this time, as Jones was able to exploit a weak Steelers defense. As Watt was unable to suit up for the Steelers due to a torn pectoral muscle, this allowed for the Patriots ground game to be another strong point this week. Damien Harris led the team in rushing yards with 71 , he also added a touchdown. Rhamondre Stevenson also rushed for 47 yards, proving the Patriots have a dual headed monster in their backfield. The defense, however, has some holes to patch up, but with a younger defensive core that is usually seen. The Patriots offense shined this week, as the Steelers still have some growing and learning to do.
Following the end of the 2021 NFL Season, Steelers veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger announced his retirement after being their starting quarterback for the last 18 years. This led the Steelers to search for their new starting quarterback. They signed Mitchell Trubisky over the offseason and were the only team to select a quarterback in the first two rounds of the draft this past April, that quarterback being Kenny Pickett from UCLA. The Steelers announced, however, that Trubisky would be their starting quarterback for the foreseeable future.
The offense led by Trubisky has been mediocre compared to Steelers offenses of the past. He threw for 168 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He spread the ball around as four wide receivers eclipsed more than four catches during this game. However, second year running back Najee Harris took a backseat in the passing game this week, as he is usually involved in the passing game. In order for the Steelers to be contenders in the AFC North division, they will need to figure things out on the offensive side of the ball. The defense looks to be able to handle their own while Watt is out, as Mike Tomlin, the head coach, might need to make a quarterback change soon and let Pickett play.
Both teams can make some noise in their division, but they will need to get better on both sides of the ball quickly if they want to have a chance to compete for the Superbowl. The Patriots will be heading out to Baltimore to play the Ravens in week 3. The Steelers played on Thursday night this week against the Cleveland Browns, where they lost 29-17.