The highlights and lowlights from the New England Patriots 28-21 Week One win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
DeAngelo Williams: The veteran looked like a spry rookie tonight, running for 127 yards and averaging six yards per carry. He showed impressive burst to win the edge and vision to allude linebackers in the hole. He rarely produced negative plays and constantly picked up chunk yardage. Made fans feel better about not having Le’Veon Bell for the first two weeks.
Antonio Brown: AB was AB, making tremendous catches all night but none more spectacular than his one-handed grab for a first down early in the game. He finished the day with nine catches for 133 yards and a touchdown. He extended his five catches, 50 yard streak to 30 games. Few corners have shown the ability to slow him down.
Ryan Shazier: Shazier finished the day with seven tackles, including two for a loss, showing that burst and “see to do” on one of them. On a day where the defense struggled and message boards – and this comments section – were set aflame, Shazier was a bright spot.
Steelers’ pass defense: Wow, where to begin? Certainly not a sterling debut from Keith Butler. We have to sink ourselves into the tape to really figure out what went wrong but it felt like everything went wrong. From a crazy rotation of safeties, playing the top four, to the absence of Brandon Boykin, to busted coverages that led to two big plays for Rob Gronkowski, to the Patriots exploiting the Steelers’ goal line set twice, scoring through the air each, it was an ugly performance. Tom Brady threw 19 straight completions and made it look easy. That shouldn’t happen. Back to the drawing board for all parties involved.
Darrius Heyward-Bey: Heyward-Bey came up with a long reception and a clutch catch on 4th down but had the gaffe of the night by being unable to stay inbounds, possibly changing the landscape of the game. It was that typical DHB game. Some real highs. But some awfully sickening lows.
Cody Wallace: By my count, Wallace gave up one sack and was called for a hold. Bad combination for an offensive lineman, especially when he didn’t have to face Dominique Easley for anything more than a couple of snaps tonight.
Josh Scobee: I don’t think I need to add much here. Scobee missed two field goals, nixing two long drives. That wasn’t what the team signed up for when they dealt a sixth round pick for him. If Scobee struggles in September, imagine how he’ll handle the nasty December weather at Heinz Field.