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Steelers ride rookie Samuels past Patriots 17-10

PITTSBURGH (AP) Ben Roethlisberger didn't want to use the word ''crossroads.'' He did anyway.

His team mired in a three-game losing streak and with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots on the other sideline Sunday - a sight that typically signals doom for Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers - the longtime quarterback understood his team's enigmatic season had reached a tipping point.

''Are we going to step up and play? Are we going to divide each other? Who knows?'' Roethlisberger said after a taut 17-10 victory. ''This was going to be a great challenge for us against a team that is always one of the best. I thought we answered the bell today.''

In so many ways.

Rookie running back Jaylen Samuels ran for a season-high 142 yards in his second NFL start. The defense that looked so vulnerable in the late going during Pittsburgh's recent slide figured out a way to slow Brady and Rob Gronkowski. Embattled kicker Chris Boswell drilled a critical 48-yard field goal in the final minutes, and the Steelers (8-5-1) gave their playoff hopes a welcome jolt.

''I knew it was a big game, it was a redemption game for last year,'' said Samuels, a senior at North Carolina State last fall when Pittsburgh collapsed late in a loss to the Patriots. ''I just wanted to go out there and give them my all.''

Forced into action with James Conner missing his second straight game due to a sprained left ankle, Samuels said he's never been a feature back. Funny, the fifth-round pick considered a bit of a project certainly looked like one against New England (9-5). Samuels ran 19 times and caught two passes for 30 yards, including a leaping 20-yard grab on third-and-9 on Pittsburgh's penultimate possession that helped set up Boswell's field goal.

''I was just staying relaxed, didn't want to stay too tensed up,'' Samuels said. ''Just do what I do. We knew it was going to be a hard-fought game ... it was a pretty good outcome.''

One that helped Pittsburgh preserve its half-game lead over Baltimore (8-6) in the AFC North with two weeks to go. It also exorcised some demons. The Steelers had dropped five straight to New England and only beaten Brady twice in his storied career. Despite never trailing, their third win over him wasn't assured until Morgan Burnett knocked down Brady's heave to the end zone intended for Julian Edelman with 20 seconds to go.

''It's a big win for us,'' Roethlisberger said. ''It's that time of year. We need to win this football game.''

Roethlisberger threw for 235 yards with two first-half touchdowns and two interceptions. Boswell, who has struggled so badly this season the team held open tryouts during the week in search of a possible replacement, atoned for a 32-yard miss in the third quarter by drilling a 48-yarder with 2:30 remaining that provided the final margin.

''He's our kicker from start to finish and I liked that way he came back and banged that next opportunity, and that's what this thing is about,'' Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. ''You are going to be tested, we are going to be tested. Sometimes you are going to fail, but you better pass enough of them.''

MISSED CHANCE

A victory would have given the Patriots their 10th straight AFC East title. While they still have two shots at it while finishing the regular season at home, the road issues don't appear to be going away. New England finished 3-5 away from Gillette Stadium, the first time the Patriots have a losing road record since 2009.

''We haven't played very well on the road,'' Brady said. ''Obviously what we're doing isn't good enough.''

Brady finished 25 of 36 for 279 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Pittsburgh held tight end Gronkowski to two receptions for 21 yards. Brady flung a jump ball to Gronkowski deep in Pittsburgh territory midway through the fourth quarter that was picked off by cornerback Joe Haden, just Brady's fifth pick in 14 games against the Steelers.

''I was just trying to flick it out of bounds,'' Brady said. ''Didn't want to take a sack. It shouldn't have happened.''

The uncharacteristically sloppy Patriots were flagged 14 times for 106 yards, including a handful of offensive holding calls that blunted momentum. The Patriots had a second-and-5 at the Pittsburgh 11 with 37 seconds to go when right guard Shaq Mason was hit with a holding penalty that pushed the ball back to the Pittsburgh 21. The Patriots would get no closer.

''There's holding on every play in the NFL,'' Brady said. ''It's what we do, we hold. ... If they're calling it, we've got to do a little bit less of it.''

HE SAID IT

''Sometimes you got to cut your eyelids off when you want to blink when it gets thick, and we talk openly about that.'' Tomlin when talking about his team's ability to deal with adversity.

UP NEXT

Patriots: Host Buffalo next Sunday. New England is unbeaten at home this season (6-0).

Steelers: Visit New Orleans next Sunday. Pittsburgh's last road victory against the Saints came in 1990.

---

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Key Players
T. Brady 12 QB
279 PaYds, PaTD, INT
15
FPTS
J. Samuels 38 RB
142 RuYds, 30 ReYds, 2 RECs
17
FPTS
Scoring Summary
4th Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Field Goal 2:34
C.Boswell 48 yard field goal is GOOD Center-K.Canaday Holder-J.Berry.
13
plays
66
yds
5:13
pos
10
17
3rd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Field Goal 0:20
S.Gostkowski 33 yard field goal is GOOD Center-J.Cardona Holder-R.Allen.
13
plays
63
yds
8:15
pos
10
14
2nd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 12:01
C.Boswell extra point is GOOD Center-K.Canaday Holder-J.Berry.
plays
yds
pos
7
14
Touchdown 12:01
B.Roethlisberger pass deep left to A.Brown for 17 yards TOUCHDOWN. Penalty on NE-S.Gilmore Defensive Holding declined.
8
plays
92
yds
4:17
pos
7
13
1st Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 6:48
S.Gostkowski extra point is GOOD Center-J.Cardona Holder-R.Allen.
plays
yds
pos
7
7
Touchdown 6:48
T.Brady pass deep right to C.Hogan for 63 yards TOUCHDOWN.
3
plays
77
yds
1:52
pos
6
7
Point After TD 8:40
C.Boswell extra point is GOOD Center-K.Canaday Holder-J.Berry.
plays
yds
pos
0
7
Touchdown 8:40
B.Roethlisberger pass short left to V.McDonald for 5 yards TOUCHDOWN.
11
plays
75
yds
6:20
pos
0
6
Team Stats
Time of Pos 29:11 30:49
1st Downs 18 24
Rushing 7 9
Passing 9 13
Penalty 2 2
3rd Down Conv 3-10 4-9
4th Down Conv 0-1 0-0
Total Net Yards 368 376
Total Plays 56 61
Avg Gain 6.6 6.2
Net Yards Rushing 96 158
Rush Attempts 19 25
Avg Rush Yards 5.1 6.3
Net Yards Passing 272 218
Comp. - Att. 25-36 22-34
Yards Per Pass 7.6 6.4
Sacked - Yards Lost 1-7 2-17
Penalties - Yards 14-106 4-40
Touchdowns 1 2
Rushing TDs 0 0
Passing TDs 1 2
Other 0 0
Turnovers 1 2
Fumbles - Lost 0-0 0-0
Int. Thrown 1 2
Punts - Avg 5-43.2 2-39.0
Return Yards 23 27
Punts - Returns 0-0 0-0
Kickoffs - Returns 1-23 1-27
Int. - Returns 2-0 1-0
Kicking 2/2 3/4
Extra Points 1/1 2/2
Field Goals 1/1 1/2
Red Zone Eff. 0-3 -0% 2-3 -67%
Goal to Go Eff. 0-1 -0% 1-2 -50%
Safeties 0 0
1234T
Patriots 9-5 703010
Steelers 8-5-1 770317
272 PASS YDS 218
96 RUSH YDS 158
368 TOTAL YDS 376
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT FPTS
T. Brady 12 QB
15
FPTS
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
69.4% 279 1 1 89.9
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
65.9% 3979 24 9 97.6
T. Brady 25/36 279 1 1 15
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG FPTS
S. Michel 26 RB
5
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
13 59 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
177 765 5
S. Michel 13 59 0 13 5
R. Burkhead 34 RB
3
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
4 25 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
39 133 0
R. Burkhead 4 25 0 10 3
J. White 28 RB
3
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
2 12 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
82 354 4
J. White 2 12 0 6 3
Receiving TAR REC YDS TD LG FPTS
J. Edelman 11 WR
9
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
11 7 90 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 63 711 4
J. Edelman 11 7 90 0 34 9
C. Hogan 15 WR
12
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
3 2 68 1
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 29 468 3
C. Hogan 3 2 68 1 63 12
J. White 28 RB
3
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
7 5 25 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 81 699 6
J. White 7 5 25 0 9 3
R. Gronkowski 87 TE
2
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
5 2 21 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 45 658 3
R. Gronkowski 5 2 21 0 13 2
C. Patterson 84 WR
2
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
3 3 20 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 20 244 3
C. Patterson 3 3 20 0 8 2
J. Gordon 10 WR
1
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
2 1 19 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 41 737 4
J. Gordon 2 1 19 0 19 1
J. Develin 46 FB
1
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
2 2 18 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 11 59 0
J. Develin 2 2 18 0 11 1
R. Burkhead 34 RB
3
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
3 3 18 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 9 73 0
R. Burkhead 3 3 18 0 8 3
Defense T-A SACK INT FF
J. McCourty 30 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
7-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
49-13 0 0.0
J. McCourty 7-2 0.0 0 0
J. Jackson 27 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
6-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
17-0 2 0.0
J. Jackson 6-0 0.0 0 0
J. Jones 31 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-0 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
39-11 3 1.0
J. Jones 5-0 1.0 0 0
P. Chung 23 SS
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
45-28 1 0.0
P. Chung 5-0 0.0 0 0
D. McCourty 32 FS
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
57-21 1 0.0
D. McCourty 3-2 0.0 0 0
S. Gilmore 24 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
36-5 2 1.0
S. Gilmore 3-0 0.0 0 0
K. Van Noy 53 MLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
53-33 1 3.0
K. Van Noy 3-0 1.0 0 0
M. Brown 90 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
18-16 0 0.0
M. Brown 3-1 0.0 0 0
D. Hightower 54 OLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
24-19 1 1.0
D. Hightower 2-1 0.0 0 0
E. Roberts 52 OLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
28-28 0 1.0
E. Roberts 1-0 0.0 0 0
T. Flowers 98 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
26-19 0 6.0
T. Flowers 1-0 0.0 0 0
D. Harmon 21 SS
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 2 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
29-5 4 0.0
D. Harmon 1-0 0.0 2 0
L. Guy 93 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-5 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
23-30 0 0.0
L. Guy 1-5 0.0 0 0
J. Simon 55 OLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
8-7 0 2.0
J. Simon 0-1 0.0 0 0
A. Butler 70 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
7-9 0 2.0
A. Butler 0-1 0.0 0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
S. Gostkowski 3 K
4
FPTS
IN-GAME FG XP
1/1 1/1
SEASON FG XP
25/30 41/42
S. Gostkowski 1/1 33 1/1 4
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
R. Allen 6 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
5 43.2 3
SEASON NO AVG IN20
54 45.7 16
R. Allen 5 43.2 3 52
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
C. Patterson 84 WR
2
FPTS
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 23.0 23 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
21 30.1 95 1
C. Patterson 1 23.0 23 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT FPTS
B. Roethlisberger 7 QB
17
FPTS
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
64.7% 235 2 2 79.9
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
66.9% 4462 30 15 96.4
B. Roethlisberger 22/34 235 2 2 17
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG FPTS
J. Samuels 38 RB
17
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
19 142 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
42 201 0
J. Samuels 19 142 0 25 17
S. Ridley 22 RB
1
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
3 16 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
26 76 1
S. Ridley 3 16 0 12 1
R. Switzer 10 WR
0
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 3 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
6 21 0
R. Switzer 1 3 0 3 0
B. Roethlisberger 7 QB
17
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
2 -3 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
26 91 3
B. Roethlisberger 2 -3 0 -1 17
Receiving TAR REC YDS TD LG FPTS
J. Washington 13 WR
6
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
4 3 65 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 13 153 1
J. Washington 4 3 65 0 32 6
A. Brown 84 WR
10
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
7 4 49 1
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 90 1112 13
A. Brown 7 4 49 1 24 10
J. Smith-Schuster 19 WR
4
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
10 4 40 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 95 1274 6
J. Smith-Schuster 10 4 40 0 22 4
J. Samuels 38 RB
17
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
2 2 30 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 16 148 2
J. Samuels 2 2 30 0 20 17
E. Rogers 17 WR
2
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
4 4 20 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 4 20 0
E. Rogers 4 4 20 0 6 2
V. McDonald 89 TE
7
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
3 2 13 1
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 46 522 4
V. McDonald 3 2 13 1 8 7
J. James 81 TE
0
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
1 1 9 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 30 423 2
J. James 1 1 9 0 9 0
R. Switzer 10 WR
0
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
2 2 9 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 32 233 1
R. Switzer 2 2 9 0 8 0
Defense T-A SACK INT FF
J. Haden 23 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
8-4 1 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
45-12 2 0.0
J. Haden 8-4 0.0 1 0
M. Hilton 28 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
37-13 1 1.0
M. Hilton 5-2 0.0 0 0
T. Watt 90 OLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
43-15 0 11.0
T. Watt 3-0 1.0 0 0
V. Williams 98 ILB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
45-26 1 4.0
V. Williams 3-0 0.0 0 0
S. Davis 21 FS
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-3 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
54-21 0 0.0
S. Davis 3-3 0.0 0 0
M. Burnett 42 SS
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
13-14 0 0.0
M. Burnett 2-2 0.0 0 0
J. Bostic 51 ILB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
42-26 0 2.0
J. Bostic 2-0 0.0 0 0
S. Tuitt 91 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
24-16 0 4.0
S. Tuitt 2-1 0.0 0 0
Te. Edmunds 34 SS
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-4 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
47-21 1 1.0
Te. Edmunds 2-4 0.0 0 0
T. Alualu 94 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
11-7 0 0.0
T. Alualu 1-0 0.0 0 0
C. Heyward 97 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-3 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
27-19 0 6.0
C. Heyward 1-3 0.0 0 0
J. Hargrave 79 NT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
30-15 0 6.0
J. Hargrave 1-2 0.0 0 0
A. Burns 25 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
16-5 0 0.0
A. Burns 1-0 0.0 0 0
C. Sensabaugh 24 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
35-5 0 0.0
C. Sensabaugh 1-0 0.0 0 0
C. Sutton 20 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
19-1 1 0.0
C. Sutton 1-1 0.0 0 0
A. Chickillo 56 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-3 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
10-10 0 1.0
A. Chickillo 0-3 0.0 0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
C. Boswell 9 K
5
FPTS
IN-GAME FG XP
1/2 2/2
SEASON FG XP
11/18 41/46
C. Boswell 1/2 48 2/2 5
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
J. Berry 4 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
2 39.0 1
SEASON NO AVG IN20
56 44.0 24
J. Berry 2 39.0 1 44
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
R. Switzer 10 WR
0
FPTS
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 27.0 27 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
26 20.0 35 0
R. Switzer 1 27.0 27 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
8:40 NE 23 1:52 3 77 TD
3:06 NE 22 1:48 5 32 Punt
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
12:01 NE 25 3:44 5 22 Punt
6:01 NE 24 0:48 3 5 Punt
3:03 NE 19 2:42 6 21 Punt
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 NE 25 2:00 4 17 Punt
8:32 NE 22 8:15 13 63 FG
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
13:29 NE 41 5:46 8 43 INT
2:30 NE 25 2:16 10 54 Downs
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 PIT 25 6:20 11 75 TD
6:48 PIT 28 3:42 5 6 Punt
1:18 PIT 8 4:17 8 92 TD
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
8:17 PIT 1 2:16 5 53 INT
5:13 PIT 28 2:10 5 19 Punt
0:21 PIT 19 0:21 1 -1 Half
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
13:00 PIT 21 4:28 9 65 FG Miss
0:17 PIT 25 1:48 5 25 INT
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
7:43 PIT 4 5:13 13 66 FG
0:14 PIT 21 0:14 1 -2 Game