Final, Patriots 28-21: The Patriots are going to begin the season 1-0.
All in all, a terrific night for the Patriots organization and its fans, as they get the 28-21 win.
Fourth quarter, 0:02, Patriots 28-21: With 2 seconds to play, the Steelers score again. Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown connected for an 11-yard touchdown.
Fourth quarter, 3:09, Patriots 28-14: The Patriots killed some clock, but couldn’t do much more. They punted back to Pittsburgh, and the Steelers will take over at the 30.
Fourth quarter, 7:00, Patriots 28-14: Ben Roethlisberger took a chance down the field and forced the pass into coverage. Bad idea. Duron Harmon picked it off, and the Patriots have regained possession.
Fourth quarter, 7:36, Patriots 28-14: The Patriots got a little pass-happy, and they went three and out. The Steelers have one more shot. Maybe.
Fourth quarter, 8:29, Patriots 28-14: The Steelers’ comeback attempt might be finished. They just went three and out and punted back to the Patriots.
Fourth quarter, 9:20, Patriots 28-14: It just looks to be the Patriots’ night.
The Patriots were in Steelers territory after a 52-yard completion to Rob Gronkowski. The Patriots picked up another big chunk on a pass from Tom Brady to Dion Lewis, but the running back fumbled as he neared the goal line. Luckily for the Patriots, however, Gronkowski was there to jump on the fumble at the 1-yard line.
On 3rd-and-goal from the 1-yard line, Brady found Gronkowski yet again to put the Patriots ahead by two scores.
Fourth quarter, Patriots 21-14: The Steelers just missed out on a golden opportunity. A defensive pass interference call on the Patriots set up Pittsburgh at the 1-yard line. However, a false start moved the Steelers back five yards, and the Patriots held.
Josh Scobee did connect on a 24-yard- field goal, though, and the Steelers are within a touchdown.
End third quarter, Patriots 21-11: The Steelers are driving again and could make this game interesting. They have the ball on the Patriots’ 8-yard line. Big gains by Brown and Wheaton helped push the Steelers down the field.
Third quarter, 4:15, Patriots 21-11: The Patriots only managed one first down on the drive, a 13-yard carry by Dion Lewis. They lost yards on a screen to Edelman and when Brady was sacked by safety Will Allen.
Third quarter, 6:43, Patriots 21-11: This game just got a little bit more interesting. The Steelers drove down the field, aided by a big gain from Antonio Brown over Malcolm Butler, and scored on a 1-yard gain by fullback Will Johnson.
The Steelers also went for two and converted on a pass from Roethlisberger to Markus Wheaton.
Third quarter, 10:37, Patriots 21-3: Ho hum, the Patriots just scored in the red zone again on a pass to a tight end.
The Patriots gained a huge chunk of yards when Brady targeted Edelman in the end zone, and he was interfered with. Brady is 19 of 21 for 199 yards with three touchdowns.
Third quarter, 15:00, Patriots 14-3: Patriots second-year defensive lineman Dominique Easley is out for the game with a hip injury.
End half, Patriots 14-3: It’s tough to tell who screwed up more on an incomplete pass late in the first half.
Patriots cornerback Bradley Fletcher tried to pass Darrius Heyward-Bey off to… no one, leaving the Steelers receiver wide open in the end zone. Roethlisberger hit Heyward-Bey in the end zone, but his foot was out of bounds.
The Steelers had to settle for a field goal, and we’ll go into the half with the Patriots ahead 14-3.
Second quarter, 4:01, Patriots 14-0: Gronk does it again.
The Patriots breezed down the field, then Brady hit Gronk with a 6-yard fade in the end zone, and it’s a two-score game.
Brady is 15 of 17 for 172 yards with two touchdowns. What distraction?
Edelman now has six catches for 60 yards. Brady hit Amendola on an 18-yard wheel route to push the Patriots down the field.
Second quarter, 8:38, Patriots 7-0: The Patriots almost broke. Bradley Fletcher allowed a huge 43-yard completion to Darrius Heyward-Bey, but then they shut down the Steelers’ offense and forced a field goal attempt. Scobee missed his second 46-yard attempt.
On third down, Roethlisberger targeted Antonio Brown, but Malcolm Butler’s coverage was too good. Butler is shadowing Brown around the field and doing a solid job.
Second quarter, 11:11, Patriots 7-0: Gronk is back.
The Patriots quickly moved down the field with three first downs by Edelman, a 19-yard completion to Gronkowski and then a 16-yard touchdown to the big tight end.
Brady is 10 of 12 for 119 yards with a touchdown. Edelman has four catches for 43 yards.
End first quarter: The Patriots are moving the ball again. They’re currently on their own 28-yard line facing third and 2. Tom Brady picked up a first down on a QB sneak after Dion Lewis carried the ball twice for 9 yards.
First quarter, 3:14: The Patriots’ defense already is full-in on the bend-but-don’t-break method.
After allowing a first down, the Patriots forced a punt. A Steelers penalty and a Dont’a Hightower sack helped push back the Steelers.
Rookie Geneo Grissom took over for Easley at defensive tackle. The Patriots appear determined to go small at three-technique defensive tackle this year.
First quarter, 7:41: The Patriots were forced to punt, but the first-team offense already looked better offensively than they did during the preseason.
Dion Lewis caught two passes for 25 yards. Edelman caught one pass for 13 yards.
The drive ended when Steelers rookie Bud Dupree went untouched off the edge and sacked Brady.
First quarter, 8:50: The Steelers were having no problem moving the ball until they attempted a trick play, and wide receiver Antonio Brown was sacked by rookie defensive tackle Malcom Brown.
Patriots defensive lineman Dominique Easley hurt his left hip and had to be helped off the field. Easley missed most of last season with a leg injury.
The Steelers then were called for holding, and their drive stalled. Josh Scobee missed a 46-yard field goal to end it.
First quarter, 15:00: The Patriots won the toss and chose to defer. Steelers will receive to open the game.
8:33 p.m.: The banner unveiling was a blast. T-Pain performed “All I Do Is Win” with an orchestra. The Dropkick Murphys played “The Boys Are Back” and “Shipping Up To Boston.”
Troy Brown, Willie McGinest and Ty Law brought out the three previous Lombardi Trophies before Robert Kraft came out with the Super Bowl XLIX title.
8:19 p.m.: The banner unveiling ceremony is starting momentarily.
8:05 p.m.: As expected, here’s the starting offensive line from left to right: Solder, Kline, Andrews, Jackson and Vollmer. Andrews and Jackson are rookies at center and right guard.
The starting defensive line, based on warmups, is Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Alan Branch and rookie Malcom Brown.
Tarell Brown and Malcolm Butler will start at cornerback.
7:50 p.m.: Tom Brady just entered the field to his usual theme, “Public Service Announcement” by Jay Z. That’s followed up by Nas’ “Hate Me Now.” The Patriots QB was fired up.
Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola are out returning punts in pregame warmups.
7:18 p.m.: The Patriots are missing two of their best offensive linemen Thursday night.
Starting center Bryan Stork is on injured reserve for eight weeks, and Ryan Wendell is inactive.
Defensive ends Trey Flowers and Rufus Johnson, running back Travaris Cadet, safety Tavon Wilson, defensive tackle Khyri Thornton and cornerback Justin Coleman round out the inactives.
David Andrews is likely to start at center with Stork and Wendell inactive. Josh Kline likely will play left guard with Tre’ Jackson at right guard. Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer will start at left and right tackle, respectively.
With Cadet out, Brandon Bolden, Dion Lewis and James White will receive all reps at running back.
Flowers, Cadet and Wilson were listed as questionable this week on the injury report.
6:54 p.m.: Here’s the banner the Patriots would have raised if Tom Brady remained suspended for the first four games of the season.
Many Patriots players are taking part in warmups on the field. Wide receiver Danny Amendola and left tackle Nate Solder are in game pants.
5:50 p.m. ET: After what seemed like the longest offseason in NFL history, New England Patriots football finally is back.
The Patriots take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL kickoff game Thursday night. The game begins at 8:30 p.m. ET, but pregame ceremonies will start at 8.
Fans are starting to filter into the Gillette Stadium parking lot, but the stands haven’t begun to fill up just yet. The weather certainly could be more pleasant. There’s a steady rain falling that doesn’t look like it will let up any time soon.
While you wait for the game, check out NESN.com 2015 Football Preview Show:
Wide receiver Julian Edelman already went through his pre-game catching routine. Defensive tackle Sealver Siliga also took the field for a warmup in front of trainers, indicating he might be a game-time decision.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images