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Turnovers Kill Patriots in Loss to Steelers

The Patriots pulled their best Plaxico Burress impression by shooting themselves in the foot in a 33-10 loss to the Steelers in a cold rain at Foxboro. New England had five turnovers, including three lost fumbles in a disastrous third quarter.

Matthew Slater fumbled a kickoff deep in Patriots territory, which led to a touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Hines Ward. Matt Cassel lost a fumble on the next Patriots play from scrimmage thanks to horrible blocking from Matt Light (which led to a James Harrison sack and forced fumble). Cassel lost another fumble later in the quarter on a very similar play with the same outcome. Both fumbles only resulted in three points, but the damage was done.

Matt Cassel threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter as the Pats were totally dominated in the second half. Pittsburgh held New England to zero points and 81 yards in the half while scoring 23 points. To Cassel’s credit, most of his turnovers weren’t his fault (except for his final interception).

In the game’s turning point with the score tied 10-10, the Patriots were driving at the end of the second half. Matt Cassel found Randy Moss in the back of the endzone for a sure touchdown, but Moss juggled and dropped the wet ball. On the next play, Cassel’s pass went through the hands of a Steelers defender and into and out of Moss’s hands for another touchdown (though that catch was harder). Stephen Gostkowski then missed a 27-yard field goal and the Patriots had nothing to show for it.

The weather definitely played a role in the outcome of the game. When the weather is really bad, the game usually tilts in the favor of the best and most opportunistic defense. As well as the Patriots played defensively (and they played decently well), the Steelers defense was dominant in all facets of the game.

It seemed the weather definitely affected Randy Moss, as he dropped three balls (two touchdowns and a potential huge gain across the middle of the field). He played in the Metrodome in Minnesota for much of his career, so I imagine that may have to do with it. He hasn’t played many games in poor weather conditions, but that shouldn’t be an excuse considering he’s a hall-of-fame wide receiver.

The loss coupled with wins by Miami, Indianapolis, and Baltimore really hurts the Pats’ playoff hopes. The Jets lost to the Broncos, which means Miami and New England are one game behind the 8-4 Jets at 7-5. The Colts and Ravens both are now 8-4.

SoB’s Jeff will have more coverage in his “Verdict.”

About KC Downey - @kc_downey

KC is the "head coach" of the Sports of Boston, LLC blog network. Follow him on Twitter: @kc_downey

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Discussion

2 comments for “Turnovers Kill Patriots in Loss to Steelers”

  1. This article is giving way to much credit to the Patriots and the weather. The Patriots didn’t shoot themselves in the foot; they got punched in the mouth by an outstanding defensive line who revealed them to be what they are….average at best. It wasn’t the weather that disrupted Randy Moss’s game, it was the fear of being de-cleated and knocked unconscious by the Steel Curtain of the new millennium. Don’t sugar-coat the loss KC, tell it like it is. The Pats were overmatched, outplayed, and outcoached.

    Posted by TheBoss | December 2, 2008, 11:29 am
  2. I think the Steelers are a very strong team…but you have to admit if Randy Moss catches that touchdown at the end of the first half, and the Pats go into halftime up 17-10, the game is TOTALLY different.

    Also take into account that the Steelers had nothing to do with the critical play of the game: Matthew Slater’s fumble on the kickoff following a Steelers go ahead field goal. The Steelers struck for a touchdown and went up 20-10. Game over.

    I’ll give James Harrison credit for manhandling Matt Light, tho Light did a horrible job of blocking on both sacks. And to back up my point…the Steelers only converted both turnovers into three points.

    As far as the turnovers, I’ll give the Steelers credit for three of the five…one of Cassel’s INT’s was tipped and the Slater fumble was certainly weather-related.

    Hey, the Steelers did outplay the Patriots, but really not until the wheels fell off the NE bus in the third quarter…

    Posted by KC | December 2, 2008, 5:43 pm

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