FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots celebrated their sixth Super Bowl championship Sunday night, but fans in Gillette Stadium would be forgiven if they’re already looking forward to No. 7 after watching the 33-3 season-opening win.
The Patriots demolished a Pittsburgh Steelers team that was supposed to give them a decent challenge. This one wasn’t close. And, by the way, the Patriots are adding wideout Antonio Brown on Monday.
Here’s who helped the Patriots most in Sunday’s big win:
QB TOM BRADY
So, Brady is still good. I’m not sure if you were wondering since he’s 42 years old now. But yeah, he’s still a quality quarterback. He went 24-of-36 for 341 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
WR PHILLIP DORSETT
Dorsett had himself a banner night, catching four passes on four targets for 95 yards with two touchdowns. It will be difficult for the fifth-year pro to get snaps when Brown comes in, but Dorsett did everything he could to prove he still deserves playing time.
WR JOSH GORDON
Gordon picked up where he left off last season before his suspension, catching three passes on four targets for 73 yards with a touchdown. The Patriots’ offensive weapon arsenal is ridiculous.
Julian Edelman barely gets a mention here, and he had six catches for 83 yards, an 8-yard carry and completed a 32-yard pass.
CB STEPHON GILMORE
Gilmore didn’t completely shut down Juju Smith-Schuster, but he came pretty close. He let up four catches on six targets for 43 yards to one of the best wide receivers in the NFL (sorry, JC Jackson). Gilmore also was flagged for holding, but he also drew an offensive pass interference penalty.
CB JONATHAN JONES
Jones played up to his big, new contract. He let up just two catches on seven targets for 12 yards with a pass breakup.
Cornerback Jason McCourty let up a 45-yard catch to James Washington but overall had a solid night, allowing five catches on 12 targets for 73 yards with three pass breakups.
Really, the entire defense deserves credit after this performance. The Patriots’ D was supposed to be elite this season, and they lived up to the hype.
Safety Patrick Chung let up just 17 yards in coverage. Linebacker John Simon had a big pass breakup. Defensive tackle Danny Shelton had a big run stuff. Linebacker Jamie Collins had a tackle for loss. Defensive end Deatrich Wise had a strip-sack. Devin McCourty had an interception.