Did Patriots’ Offensive Game Plan Catch Steelers’ Defense By Surprise?

The New England Patriots’ unpredictability really helped them against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Patriots defeated the Steelers 36-17 in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game to earn a date with the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI. The contest never really was in doubt, and New England’s victory had a lot to do with its offensive game plan against Pittsburgh’s formidable defense.

“The first drive hit us by surprise,” Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree said Monday, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “They came out firing and they caught us off guard. We were checking and they were checking at the same time. Hats off to that team. They had a great preparation.”

Tom Brady and Co. opened the game with a six-play, 62-yard drive that ended with a Stephen Gostkowski field goal. The Pats led 10-0 after the first quarter, 17-9 at halftime and pulled away quickly in the second half, leaving the Steelers to wonder what just hit them.

“We didn’t really anticipate it like that,” Dupree said of the Patriots’ offensive attack, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “It was more in their approach to the no-huddle, the checks they made right away. It was a great job by Tom Brady.”

According to Dupree, the Steelers prepared for the Patriots to use the no-huddle offense but were thrown off by how frequently it was deployed. New England kept its foot on the gas throughout the contest, and it’s a big reason why Bill Belichick’s bunch is going to the Super Bowl … again.

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images

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