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Do Your Job - A Selfless Team Effort Leads to a Week 2 Victory in the Steel City

Nelson Agholor & Jakobi Meyers brought their A-game, and so did the whole defense, to get a solid win over the Steelers. PIC: Dave Silverman

Sometimes, an opener is just an opener - you get swiftly punched in the face by a team that's had your number the last few years, and you move on. Lucky enough, the Patriots laid the groundwork to get back to winning ways.


New England took home a 17-14 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday afternoon. It wasn't a dominant one, it didn't have glitz and glamour, and it didn't come against a Super Bowl favorite. It wasn't a "run-baby-run" ground-attack over a division rival. It wasn't any sort of high-stakes contest. It certainly wasn't dazzling.


But, did it need to be? How do you respond after a loss like that - do you double down, or do you put on a clinical, selfless effort to take home the win?


Very simply put, the Pats did what they needed to do to win (and to cover the spread) - nothing more, nothing less. The word that comes to mind is "collective" from Sunday. There weren't just one, or two, or three contributors. The Pats got what they needed from everyone who suited up, and they were rewarded with a solid win on the road.


Mac showed flashes of his potential

It's trendy to not like Mac Jones. But it's important to remember that while he's no Tom Brady, he's considered a leader on this team, and he's the guy that will take this offense to the promised land.

Mac went 21-for-35, throwing for 252 yards and a touchdown. He was picked once. From last week, his biggest criticism was not being comfortable throwing the ball for more than ten yards. This week was a bit different, as he routinely found both Nelson Agholor and Jakobi Meyers for streaks of 15+ yards. I hope this keeps up.


How about this clock management as well? The Steelers punted to the Pats with more than 6 minutes to go, and they never gave up possession. 13 plays for 56 yards, the Steelers killed all three of their timeouts, and Mac facilitated brilliantly.

Breakout day for Nelson Agholor

6 receptions, 110 yards, and a touchdown. How about that?! Nelson Agholor struggled to find a consistent role last year, but he seems to be turning a corner. And if he's going to continue mossing guys like this, it proves to me that he's still got something left to contribute.

Collective defensive effort

The Steelers challenged the Pats defense early, running 37 offensive plays in the first half compared to the Pats' 26. Despite a rocky road and a few missed coverages in half #1, the Pats defense quickly turned around - after the 7-for-9 stretch of converted third downs that the Steelers racked up, they went on to convert only one of the next six. It was strong showing from the secondary, and the edge rushers got to Mitchell Trubisky early & often, sacking him three times. There wasn't one clear-cut defensive leader in this game, which makes it all the better. Myles Bryant led the team with only five solo tackles - after that, it was Jalen Mills with 4, then Deatrich Wise with 3. All around, if the Pats can manage more of these collective defensive efforts without relying on one person, they'll be in nice shape.

The defense showed out without one single star on Sunday. PIC: Dave Silverman


Up Next - Baltimore Ravens (1-1) on Sunday 9/25

There is no doubt the Ravens will be frustrated after squandering a 28-7 lead to the Dolphins on Sunday. Tua Tagovailoa threw for 460 yards and six touchdowns against the Baltimore defense, so you can bet they'll be out for revenge. Lucky for the Pats, it's their first home game of the year, so the crowd will be buzzing. Will a tough Ravens secondary bounce back after a dismal performance last week? We'll find out. One thing is for sure - Josh, you're on!

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