Pats prevail 17-14.
Steelers vs. Patriots score, takeaways: Mac Jones leads New England to first victory of 2022 season
Jones was the better quarterback in Sunday's showdown with Pittsburgh
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.
Three straight plays to Najee Harris, and the Steelers punt. Not Trubisky's best game, and will be a frustrating loss if the Steelers don't pull this one out.
Steelers take over at their own 20 with 8:03 left. Feels like this is the make-or-break drive for them. Not sure if another quick punt and the defense coming back out on short rest (again) is a good idea.
Steelers quickly force a punt. The Patriots tight ends have pretty much been invisible today.
Boo birds come out again as Trubisky throws short to Harris and Steelers forced to punt.
Question Jones' decision making on that play. Had safer, shorter options but decided to trust Parker on a deep sideline route. The pass was short and NE forced to punt. Positive for NE is that they pinned the Steelers at their own 10-yard-line.
Myers with a tough catch to move the chains while getting the Patriots past midfield.
Nice completion from Jones to Bourne, but holding call wipes out the play. The Patriots have bene hurt by several penalties by their O-line.
Here's that second effort play by Najee on the Steelers' last drive.
Unreal catch by Johnson, as the Steelers' deficit is now 17-14. Johnson is having an incredible start to the season.
Trubisky throws his second TD pass as a Steelers, an 8-yard strike to Freiermuth to open the fourth quarter. Steelers going for two.
Stats through three quarters
First downs: Steelers 15-12
Third down: Steelers 7-12, NE 6-11
Total yards: Pats 270-233
TOP: Steelers 23:43
Jones: 16-27, 204 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; Trubisky: 18-28, 155 yards, 1 INT, 3 sacks
N Harris: 13 carries, 42 yards; D Harris: 10 carries, 41 yards, 1 TD
Patriots take a 17-6 lead into the fourth quarter. Steelers will have a third-and-4 on the Patriots' 8-yard-line when play resumes.
Harris with an impressive hurdle and second-effort vs. Devin McCourty, as the Steelers are deep in NE territory.
Here's the fumble recovery that set up Harris' score.
Former Patriot Gunner Olszewski muffs the punt, Patriots Brendan Schooler recovers.
Cam Sutton nearly picked off Jones, as the Steelers have not come down with two near picks today not counting Fitzpatrick's pick.
Chants of "Kenny" being heard before Boswell hit his 52-yard attempt to cut Pittsburgh's deficit to 10-6 with 5:44 left in the third. The chants came after Trubisky threw short for no gain when Johnson got open downfield.
Steelers use their first timeout of the half. Both teams have used one midway through the third quarter.
Trubisky said the Steelers wanted to take more deep shots, but so far, we're not seeing it. Pittsburgh's offense has been largely conservative to this point.
Kyle Dugger is questionable to return with a knee injury.
Nick Folk's 52-yard attempt is wide right, as the score remains 10-3 in favor of NE as the Steelers begin their first drive of the second half.
Patriots use their first timeout of the half. NE has had success on their short middle routes with Bourne and Meyers. Their depth at WR starting to pay dividends.
Patriots starting with an aggressive game plan to start the second half with quick completions over the middle.
Patriots to get the ball to start the second half after winning the coin toss.
First half stats
First downs: Patriots 9-7
Third downs: Pats 4-7, Steelers 7-11
Total yards: 183-131
TOP: Steelers 17:23
Jones: 10/17, 143, 1TD/1INT; Trubisky: 11/19, 96 yards, INT, 2 sacks
Here's a look a Nelson Agholor's 44-yard touchdown just moments ago. Patriots primed to take a 10-3 halftime lead.
There's been at least two false starts by Trent Brown that the refs have missed so far.
Here's Minkah's pick that set up the Steelers' first points.