Patriots blow out the Steelers with prolific second half, 55-31

Patriots blow out the Steelers with prolific second half, 55-31

Zuri Berry provides updates as the Patriots host the Steelers at Gillette Stadium.

Stevan Ridley had two touchdowns and Rob Gronkowski one in the Patriots' big win. (USA Today photo)
by Matt Pepin, Sports Editor on Nov 3, 2013 at 8:15 PM

Tom Brady chucked it, and kept chucking it, finishing with 432 yards passing and four touchdowns as the Patriots beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 55-31. 

Brady went deep looking for Aaron Dobson and the rookie wide receiver came through. He caught an 81-yard touchdown bomb with 5:15 left in the fourth quarter before LeGarrette Blount added a 5-yard touchdown with 2:41 left, giving the Patriots an insurmountable lead.

It was Dobson's fifth reception for 130 yards and second touchdown of the game. It's the rookie's first time recording more than 100 yards receiving. 

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hit Jerricho Cotchery for his third touchdown reception of the day, pulling the Steelers within 10 points of the Patriots, 41-31, just two plays prior.

Patriots running back Stevan Ridley churned his way to a 5-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter and Dobson caught a back shoulder 17-yard touchdown pass at the top of the quarter as the Patriots took a 41-24 lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski nailed a 32-yard field goal in the third quarter to help the Patriots kick off 17-0 run. The Patriots outscored the Steelers 28-3 in the fourth quarter and 31-17 in the second half. 

The team combined for a season-high 611 yards of offense and NFL-high 55 points. 

Roethlisberger threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Cotchery, capitalizing on a fumble by Ridley to open the second half, and then added an 8-yard touchdown strike to the receiver in the third quarter as the Steelers pulled into 24-24 tie.

Ridley, who finished with 115 yards on 26 carries, plowed his way in for a 1-yard touchdown as the Patriots capitalized on two defensive pass interference penalties before halftime. 

Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for a 27-yard touchdown pass with Alfonzo Dennard in coverage as the Steelers tried to close the gap on the Patriots in the second quarter.

Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski nailed a 20-yard field goal to give the Patriots a two-touchdown lead before Roethlisberger's touchdown strike made it a 7-point game. 

Gostkowski's field goal was set up by a 57-yard throw to Danny Amendola who was wide open over the middle of the field. However, the Patriots were unable to capitalize with a touchdown on the long throw after Tom Brady was sacked for an 8-yard loss. 

Brady found Rob Gronkowski for a 19-yard touchdown pass with Troy Polamalu and Jarvis Jones in coverage in the second quarter. The Patriots quarterback also threw a 34-yard touchdown strike to Danny Amendola down the seam of the field in the first quarter. That touchdown was set up by a Devin McCourty interception just one play prior. 

Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham added a 30-yard field goal in the second quarter.

  • Zuri Berry 11/3/2013 7:37:23 PM
    Hey everyone. I'm here at Gillette Stadium ready to start giving updates on today's Patriots-Steelers game.
  • Zuri Berry 11/3/2013 7:38:28 PM
    Projected starting lineups:
    Based on information distributed to the media, practice observations, and injuries for each team.

    Patriots offense: WR Danny Amendola, LT Nate Solder, LG Logan Mankins, C Ryan Wendell, RG Dan Connolly, RT Marcus Cannon, TE Rob Gronkowski, WR Aaron Dobson, QB Tom Brady, RB Stevan Ridley, TE Michael Hoomanawanui.

    Patriots defense: DT Joe Vellano, DT Chris Jones, DE Chandler Jones, DE Rob Ninkovich, LB Dont'a Hightower, LB Jamie Collins, LB Brandon Spikes, CB Alfonzo Dennard, CB Kyle Arrington, S Devin McCourty, S Steve Gregory.

    Steelers offense: WR Emmanuel Sanders, LT Kelvin Beachum, LG Ramon Foster, C Fernando Velasco, RG Cody Wallace, RT Marcus Gilbert, TE Heath Miller, RB Le'Veon Bell, FB Will Johnson, QB Ben Roethlisberger, WR Antonio Brown.

    Steelers defense: DE Cameron Heyward, NT Steve McLendon, DE Brett Keisel, LOLB LaMarr Woodley, LILB Vince Williams, RILB Lawrence Timmons, ROLB Jason Worilds, LCB William Gay, FS Ryan Clark, SS Troy Polamalu, RCB Ike Taylor.
  • Zuri Berry 11/3/2013 7:38:59 PM
    Kickoff: 4:25 p.m.

    Records: Patriots 6-2; Steelers 2-5.

    TV/Radio: CBS (Jim Nantz, Phil Simms); 98.5-FM The Sports Hub (Bob Socci, Scott Zolak) and ESPN Radio (Sean McDonough, Bill Polian, Ian Fitszimmons).
  • Zuri Berry 11/3/2013 7:40:28 PM
    Here's what we're watching today when the Patriots host the Steelers.

    1. Tom Brady – The past few weeks have been anything but pretty for Brady. He's failed to throw a touchdown in two of the last four games and his completion percentage has dipped to a career-low 55.7 percent as a starter. Last week against the Miami Dolphins, he completed a season-low 13 passes. There are worries about Brady's hand and in turn his accuracy. If he can get through this week with at least a solid performance and a win, he can rest easy through the bye week at 7-2, a huge accomplishment for any team and any struggling quarterback.

    2. Availability of Aqib Talib, others -- Talib (hip) is listed as questionable. He has practiced for the last two weeks, but has been limited in doing so. He would be a great help Sunday against a player of Emmanuel Sanders' speed and skill. There's also concern about Kyle Arrington and his groin injury. He's been limited the past few weeks. That's two of the team's top three corners. RB Leon Washington (ankle) is listed as questionable and seven others are listed as probable for Sunday's game.

    3. Isaac Sopoaga – The Patriots' new defensive tackle, who was traded to the team earlier in the week, is expected to make his debut against the Steelers. As a defensive line player, he can easily be inserted and help inject some toughness up front for a team that has given up 156.5 yards rushing per game since Vince Wilfork was placed on injured reserve. We'll be watching his snap count and what situations he's asked to help in.

    4. Marcus Cannon – The third-year offensive tackle will likely start in place of Sebastian Vollmer, who was placed on injured reserve earlier in the week. Cannon had stepped in for Vollmer after he went down in the Miami Dolphins game last week. He has also pitched in at right guard and left tackle this season, but has struggled in run blocking. In 56 passing plays, he has allowed only one total pressure on the quarterback. He'll get a more extensive showing Sunday against a good blitzing team.

    5. Who's on first? – We've seen some changes to the wide receivers group with the return of Rob Gronkowski and the addition of Austin Collie, particularly after Collie contributed with two major catches in the game-winning drive against the New Orleans Saints. He started last week's game against the Dolphins in a three wide receiver set. Collie joined Amendola and Aaron Dobson as the starting receivers. Julian Edelman, who came off the bench, ended up having just as many snaps as Collie (32). But it was Kenbrell Thompkins, after beginning the year as the starting outside receiver, who saw his snap count dip to 13 plays. Dobson led all receivers with 49 plays. Meanwhile, Collie recorded no catches and was never targeted. Thompkins was targeted once.

    So who gets the start this week? We'll wait and see.
  • Zuri Berry 11/3/2013 7:44:19 PM

    The sun is peeking out at Gillette Stadium. But it's still cold, hovering around 45 degrees with winds gusting up to 6 miles per hour just two hours before kickoff.

  • Steelers inactives:
    Landry Jones
    Markus Wheaton
    Curtis Brown
    Richard Gordon
    Kion Wilson
    David DeCastro
    Hebron Fangupo
  • Waiting on 7 names from the Patriots. I think I've got 6 figured out. Need one more ...
  • Patriots inactives:
    Chris Barker
    Jake Bequette
    Josh Boyce
    Kenbrell Thompkins
    Leon Washington
    Aqib Talib
    Steve Beauharnais
  • Aqib Talib is inactive, as is Thompkins (the one I didn't have). The others: Washington, Beauharnais, Barker, Boyce, Bequette.
  • DT Isaac Sopoaga ready to make his Patriots debut. OL Josh Kline was in uniform Week 1, but didn't play, and hasn't since. Will he today?
  • The best and worst teams at NFL season’s midway point
  • Zuri Berry 11/3/2013 8:16:20 PM
    Patriots wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins is a healthy scratch for Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    This follows a week in which he had only 13 snaps on offense and the increased role for veteran free agent signee Austin Collie (32 snaps).

    Starting cornerback Aqib Talib, who has been hampered with a hip injury, will miss his third straight game.

    Also inactive for the Patriots were rookie WR Josh Boyce, RB Leon Washington (ankle), OL Chris Barker, DL Jake Bequette, and LB Steve Beauharnais.

    Inactive for the Steelers: QB Landry Jones, WR Markus Wheaton, CB Curtis Brown, TE Richard Gordon, LB Kion Wilson, OG David DeCastro, and DT Hebron Fangupo.
  • Extra Points: Kenbrell Thompkins, Aqib Talib inactive for Patriots against Steelers #patriots
  • Zuri Berry 11/3/2013 8:50:16 PM
    Jamie Collins in the starting group for linebackers.
  • Zuri Berry 11/3/2013 8:52:47 PM
    New defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga warming up with the second team on defense.
  • Zuri Berry 11/3/2013 8:56:22 PM
    The team has evacuated the field. We're now 30 minutes away from kickoff.
  • Kenbrell Thompkins, Aqib Talib inactive for #Patriots against #Steelers
  • Zuri Berry 11/3/2013 9:14:45 PM
    The Patriots have taken the field.
  • Zuri Berry 11/3/2013 9:16:12 PM
    The Red Sox have taken the field. Yes, you read that right.
  • Zuri Berry 11/3/2013 9:17:15 PM
    Felix Doubront, Stephen Drew, Jonny Gomes, Will MIddlebrooks, David Ross, Matt Thornton, Shane Victorino, and Jon Lester here.
  • Zuri Berry 11/3/2013 9:17:46 PM
    Jon Lester came out holding the World Series trophy. Jonny Gomes, still celebrating, ran out of the tunnel like a Patriots player.
  • Zuri Berry 11/3/2013 9:18:30 PM
    Clay Buchholz is also here.
  • Zuri Berry 11/3/2013 9:20:10 PM
  • Lester, with World Series trophy, walks over and shakes hands with Brady. Gomes? He seeks out Gronkowski. Stunning.
  • Zuri Berry 11/3/2013 9:22:45 PM

    Looks great. This is football weather.

  • Zuri Berry 11/3/2013 9:23:15 PM
    Jon Lester at the coin toss with the World Series trophy.
  • Zuri Berry 11/3/2013 9:23:45 PM
    Coin toss: Steelers win the toss, will receive.
  • Roethlisberger calls tails. Coin flip comes up tails. Steelers win the toss and want the ball. Here we go.
  • Zuri Berry 11/3/2013 9:27:28 PM
    Isaac Sopoaga starts the game for the Patriots at defensive tackle.
  • Live blog for #Patriots -#Steelers includes chat with @realOBF
  • Zuri Berry 11/3/2013 9:30:33 PM
    Rob Ninkovich forced a fumble by Ben Roethlisberger and rookie defensive tackle Joe Vellano recovered. Ninkovich gets the sack.
  • Zuri Berry 11/3/2013 9:31:45 PM
    12:05 1st quarter: Patriots 0, Steelers 0 -- After four plays and two first downs, Ben Roethlisberger was hit in the pocket by Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich and fumbled the ball. It was recovered by Joe Vellano, halting Pittsburgh's 18-yard drive.
  • Zuri Berry 11/3/2013 9:32:53 PM
    The Patriots go three and out after two runs by Stevan Ridley and a 2-yard sack on Tom Brady.
  • Zuri Berry 11/3/2013 9:34:26 PM
    10:20 1st quarter: Patriots 0, Steelers 0 -- Tom Brady was sacked -- a coverage sack if there were ever one -- for a 2-yard loss by the Pittsburgh Steelers' Jason Worilds on a 3rd-and-2. The Patriots went three-and-out.
  • Zuri Berry 11/3/2013 9:36:09 PM
    Andre Carter on the field for the Patriots.
  • Zuri Berry 11/3/2013 9:37:21 PM
    Patriots started in a 3-4 defense with Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich as the outside backers.
  • Zuri Berry 11/3/2013 9:38:15 PM
    8:15 1st quarter: Patriots 0, Steelers 0 -- The Steelers went three-and-out on their second drive, with the help of a Rob Ninkovich tackle for a loss on first down.
  • Zuri Berry 11/3/2013 9:41:52 PM
    Logan Mankins was flagged for clipping. That's a 15-yard personal foul.
  • Zuri Berry 11/3/2013 9:42:42 PM
    Lawrence Timmons with the hit on Tom Brady, forcing an incomplete pass.
  • Zuri Berry 11/3/2013 9:43:55 PM
    Nice third down conversion there to Rob Gronkowski for 34 yards.
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