ShareThis Page
Steelers

Tim Benz: Patriots refuse to acknowledge 'mastery' of Steelers - but it's there

| Monday, Dec. 18, 2017, 7:03 a.m.

We were laughing at them again. Just two weeks ago. That team down the Ohio River.

The Bengals -- in all their Bengal splendor -- managed to come up with yet another creative way to blow a game against the Steelers.

Little brother lost to big brother in maddening fashion once more. And a Terrible Towel waving Lucy van Pelt stood over Charlie Brown in his Bengal stripes as she hysterically pulled the football away for the 100th time.

In today's edition of the comic strip though, Charlie Brown is laying on his back in his black-and-gold outfit and Lucy his mocking him with a harsh New England accent.

After a week of Pittsburgh trying to convince itself this time would be different against the Patriots, well, it was.

Until it wasn't.

New England outlasted the Steelers 27-24 Sunday at Heinz Field. The Patriots are now 11-2 against Pittsburgh with Tom Brady at quarterback.

So add this one to the list: Troy Edwards ran out of bounds and the Patriots blocked a field goal. Big Ben had the rookie jitters. The headsets didn't work. They were filming Dick LeBeau. Plaxico Burress should have caught the ball in the end zone when he was a Steeler, not a Giant. They forgot to cover Gronk ….again. And Chris Hogan on the flea-flicker.

Now make room for the "Replay Robbed Jesse James."

No shortage of puns there.

Oh, and they still didn't cover Gronk. Except this time, they seemed to try.

Most of the time, anyway

Yup. The call to erase James' game-winning touchdown stinks. That interpretation of the rule stinks even more. Eli Rogers was probably interfered with in the end zone a few plays later, to boot.

But the story remains the same. Another game against the New England Patriots. Another "how the heck did it go that way?" loss.

Except this one hurts more. The Steelers showed they were much closer to the Patriots this time around, even without Antonio Brown for most of the game.

This time around, the Steelers blew a lead instead of maniacally attempting to catch up.

This time around, the loss not only dents the team emotionally because of the result itself, but it also saps hopes of getting a rematch at Heinz Field again in the playoffs in January.

Pittsburgh showed depth after Brown went out, as Rogers, Martavis Bryant, and JuJu Smith-Schuster rose to the occasion. Mike Tomlin's team showed toughness as it rebounded from blowing the fourth-quarter lead to snatch it back before James' score was ripped of the board.

So, how does it keep happening? Are the Patriots themselves cognizant of the hex they hold over the Steelers?

"No one holds anything over the Steelers," said eighth-year New England safety Patrick Chung. "They are a great team. It was a 60-minute game."

Yet, regardless of the manner, no matter the matchups, the Steelers just can't get over the mastery wielded by their AFC nemesis.

"I wouldn't say a mastery," retorted 10-year New England veteran special teamer Matthew Slater. So he's seen his share of Patriot dominance against the local club.

"That's a heck of a football team. They aren't going anywhere. They are going to do some damage in the postseason."

Ok. To that point then, Matthew, was Tomlin onto something a few weeks ago when he said this will probably be "the first of two" between these organizations? Is New England going to do this to the Steelers again in the playoffs?

"First of two? We're just thinking about our 15th game of the season," he replied.

The constant, of course, is Brady. He matched Roethlisberger throw for throw and nearly stat for stat.

The only difference is his interception, while costly, didn't end the game as Roethlisberger's did. Plus, he did it with roughly half the run game support Roethlisberger got.

"It's not like there was anyone running away with it," said Brady. "It was a tight game. We just made one more play than they did."

Brady is right. As opposed to most Steeler losses to this team, it basically was just one more play, not a dozen.

Or in this case, one more call at the goal line.

The fear now is, though, that if the "Patriots versus Steelers" sequel Tomlin is predicting actually does get the green light, it'll be filmed in Foxborough.

Those movies rarely need the dramatic ending we saw to sew up the plot. New England tends to solve the mystery long before the credits roll.

Tim Benz hosts the Steelers pregame show on WDVE and ESPN Pittsburgh. He is a regular host/contributor on KDKA-TV and 105.9 FM.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hangs his head after throwing a interception against the Patriots on the last play of the game Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017, at Heinz Field.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hangs his head after throwing a interception against the Patriots on the last play of the game Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017, at Heinz Field.
The Patriots' Duron Harmon celebrates after pulling in an interception against the Steelers on the last play of the game Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017, at Heinz Field.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Patriots' Duron Harmon celebrates after pulling in an interception against the Steelers on the last play of the game Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017, at Heinz Field.
The Patriots' Rob Gronkowski pulls in a 2-point conversion against the Steelers in the fourth quarter Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017, at Heinz Field.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Patriots' Rob Gronkowski pulls in a 2-point conversion against the Steelers in the fourth quarter Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017, at Heinz Field.
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me