Patriots Report Card: Tom Brady’s Offense Fails, Defense Barely Saves Face in Ugly Loss to Steelers


Patriots Report Card: Tom Brady's Offense Fails, Defense Barely Saves Face in Ugly Loss to SteelersPITTSBURGH — So much for overlooking the Steelers. I didn’t think they had it in them to thoroughly outplay the Patriots, but that’s exactly how it went down Sunday at Heinz Field. This was a big-time gut check for the Patriots, and it’s time to break out the grades.


Jeff Howe: F

They couldn’t adjust to Pittsburgh’s physicality at the line, and the receivers couldn’t beat the aggressive man coverage. There was never a point in the game when it looked like Tom Brady and the offense were comfortable and ready to get into a rhythm. These things will have to be a quick fix for the Patriots because their next two opponents — the Giants and Jets — will look to emulate that game plan.

What grade would you give the Patriots offense against the Steelers?


Jeff Howe: D

Why did the defense get a better grade than the offense? As bad as the defense played, Gary Guyton‘s interception set up the first touchdown, and they held Pittsburgh to three red-zone field goals to keep themselves in the game. Other than that, the Patriots looked lost over the middle of the field against the pass.

What grade would you give the Patriots defense against the Steelers?


Jeff Howe: F

Stephen Gostkowski‘s missed field goal didn’t really cost them anything, but the failed onside kick was poorly executed.

What grade would you give the Patriots special teams against the Steelers?


Jeff Howe: F

The necessary adjustments never came on offense or defense. Sometimes, it’s as simple as that when a team gets beaten as soundly as this.

What grade would you give the Patriots coaching against the Steelers?


Jeff Howe: A-

To think, the Steelers were greatly undermanned at linebacker, and they still played a tremendous defensive game. And give credit to Ben Roethlisberger for reigning himself in and playing smart with the ball, especially with so much on his shoulders in the game plan.

What grade would you give the Steelers?


Jeff Howe: Kevin Faulk

Not only did he return from a 13-month absence, but Faulk played a significant role in the offense. It’s no wonder why his teammates were excited for him to get back on the field. It wasn’t for sentimental reasons. They know he’s going to be an asset.


Jeff Howe: Andre Carter

Lost in the defensive mess, the line played pretty well, and Carter was the most effective pass rusher yet again. He had two sacks, a forced fumble and a quarterback hit. That forced fumble late in the game nearly gave the Patriots the ball deep in Pittsburgh territory, but the Patriots couldn’t recover it.


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