Pats prevail 17-14.
PITTSBURGH -- In his second start in his second season with the Patriots, Mac Jones did something his predecessor did numerous times in New England: beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh. Following a rocky season debut in Miami, Jones answered the bell on Sunday while leading the Patriots to a 17-14 win over the Steelers.
Jones, who dealt with a back injury as well as an illness leading up to Sunday's game, gave the Patriots the lead for good with his 44-yard touchdown pass to Nelson Agholor just before halftime. Jones then completed several key passes in the second half. He threw early and often to Agholor and Jakobi Myers, who caught a combined 15 passes for 205 yards.
Jones outplayed Steelers quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who was booed several times by the home crowd for his conservative decisions throwing the football. Trubisky failed to throw for over 200 yards for the second time in as many outings, as Pittsburgh failed to capitalize on a solid performance by its defense.
Here's a closer look into what transpired on Sunday.
Why the Patriots won
Along with having the better quarterback, the Patriots had a better running game, led by Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson. New England's offensive line, despite committing several penalties, were effective in protecting Jones, who was not sacked by a Steelers defense that was without T.J. Watt. Conversely, the Patriots' defense sacked Trubisky three times.
Why the Steelers lost
Mistakes, missed opportunities (Pittsburgh failed two come up with two picks that contributed to 10 Patriots points), and a conservative offense all played roles in the Steelers' first regular-season loss of the 2022 season. Pittsburgh continues to struggle on the ground, as Najee Harris finished with just 49 yards on 15 carries.
After cutting New England's lead to 10-6, the Steelers forced a punt on the Patriots' second drive of the half. Gunner Olszewski's muffed punt, however, gave the ball right back to the Patriots, who cashed in on Damien Harris' short touchdown run.
The Steelers responded with Trubisky's 8-yard touchdown pass to Pat Freiermuth, but were unable to complete the comeback after being forced to punt on their final two possessions.
Play of the game
The game was an even draw before Agholor's touchdown catch gave the Patriots the lead for good.
"Kenny! Kenny!" — A good portion of the 67,307 paying customers who booed, then clamored for Kenny Pickett to enter the game prior to Chris Boswell's third-quarter field goal.
The chants occurred seconds after Trubisky settled for a short, safe throw on third down after Johnson had gotten open downfield.
After two weeks on the road, the Patriots will play host to the Ravens next Sunday in their home opener. New England is 1-1 in games against Ravens starting quarterback Lamar Jackson, who amassed over 300 total yards and two touchdowns in Baltimore's 23-17 loss at New England in November 2020.
The Steelers have a quick turnaround before they head to Cleveland to take on the Browns on Thursday night. Pittsburgh swept the season series with Cleveland last year after the Browns upset them in the first round of the playoffs in January of 2021.