Steelers — 0-9-0-8–17
Patriots — 10-7-16-3–36
Don’t blame Antonio Brown. It was never that close.
The Patriots scored 16 unanswered in the third quarter, and rolled the Steelers 36-17 to advance to their seventh Super Bowl under Bill Belichick. Tom Brady finished with a postseason career-high 384 yards and three touchdowns, two of them to Chris Hogan.
The Steelers went down 10-0 early, and then Le’Veon Bell exit with a groin injury. Without the back that rushed for over 300 yards combined in the last two weeks, the Steelers quickly found themselves on the wrong side of a blowout.
The game turned in the third quarter, when the Steelers started the second half within one score. They went three and out, and the Patriots drove 55 yards for a field goal. On the Steelers next drive, Eli Rogers was stripped and lost the football on the first play. LeGarrette Blount pounded home a touchdown seven minutes later, and the game was quickly out of hand.
The Patriots are AFC Champions once again, and now head to Houston for Super Bowl 51. They are listed as a three-point favorite over the Atlanta Falcons.
Steelers Score With Three Minutes Remaining
Ben Roethlisberger throws his first touchdown in garbage time.
Blount Bangs Home Another TD
Tom Brady is picking apart the Steelers, and goes over 300 yards on his first TD drive of the second half. The drive is finished off by Blount, a former Steeler who hasn’t had a major impact in this game until this point. On the first play of the Steelers next drive, Eli Rogers fumbles it back to the Patriots.
Reversed TD Leads to Goal-Line Stand
It looked like Jesse James would be carrying the Steelers in for a second touchdown, but the pylon cam showed James going down at the one-foot line. The Patriots stepped up big, stopping the Steelers on three consecutive plays to force a field goal.
Patriots Get Tricky For Second TD
After the Steelers get on the board, the Patriots answer right back. Brady and Lewis run the flea flicker, and Brady hits a wide-open Hogan for another TD.
Bell Injured, But Steelers Respond
The Steelers need Le’Veon Bell if they want to beat the Patriots, and right now Bell is one the sideline. Bell suffered a groin injury in the first quarter, and DeAngelo Williams took over rushing duties. Williams is a different type of runner, and his direct style gave the Steelers their first TD of the game.
Brady Hits Hogan For First TD
After both teams go three-and-out, Brady finds Hogan twice for the bulk of an 80-yard scoring drive. The Steelers have been unable to get any serious pressure on Brady, and he had all day to find Hogan for the score.
Patriots Start First But Settle
The Patriots start out flying, and Brady hit Edelman for 41 yards on the opening drive. That woke up the Steelers defense, who held to force a field goal attempt. Patriots strike first.
Stats will be updated throughout the game
Passing: Roethlisberger: 31/47, 314 yards, TD, INT
Rushing: Williams: 14 carries, 34 yards, TD
Receiving: Brown: 7 catches, 77 yards
New England Patriots
Passing: Brady: 32/42, 384 yards, 3 TD
Rushing: Blount: 16 carries, 47 yards, TD
Receiving: Hogan: 9 catches, 180 yards, 2 TD
Someday, both could be going to Canton. But on Sunday, only once can advance to Houston.
Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady will meet in the AFC Championship, with the winner advancing to Super Bowl 51. Brady won the only previous playoff meeting between the two quarterbacks, and the Patriots have dominated the series in recent years.
The Patriots are a six-point favorite on Sunday, and they’ve won most of the meetings during the Brady-Belichick era. Since 2002, the Patriots have won nine of the last 12 meetings against the Steelers. When Ben and Brady met in their only postseason clash, the Patriots were victorious 41-27 to advance to Super Bowl XXXIX against the Eagles.
In this meeting, the Patriots will lean on Brady and dual-threat back Dion Lewis to move the football. Brady has dealt with multiple injuries to skill positions, but Lewis broke out for three touchdowns last week against Houston.
For Pittsburgh, it’s all about Le’Veon Bell. In his first career postseason, Bell has been outstanding for Pittsburgh. In Pittsburgh’s previous two playoff games, Bell has combined for 337 yards on 59 carries.