Patriots notebook: WR Dobson keeps moving forward
All season, Patriots receiver Aaron Dobson primarily has been known for his inability to hang onto the ball. The rookie took big steps toward changing that perception Sunday, catching five passes for 130 yards and two touchdowns.
The highlight came with 5:15 remaining in the game as Dobson saw Steelers defensive back Ike Taylor bite on a play-action fake by Tom Brady and burned him off the line of scrimmage. About halfway through his streak route, Dobson looked up and saw the ball on its way.
Dobson caught Brady's bomb in stride and raced for an 81-yard touchdown. That play, along with the steadily increasing number of snaps he's seeing, undoubtedly will leave Dobson feeling better about himself going forward.
“I'm just learning,” Dobson said. “I'm just getting comfortable with the offense. I still have a long way to go, but I'm just more comfortable than I was when I first got here.”
Turnover streak hits 36
The Patriots extended their NFL-best streak of creating turnovers to 36 straight games after Joe Vellano recovered Rob Ninkovich's first-quarter strip-sack of Ben Roethlisberger. In addition, Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon intercepted Roethlisberger.
“We knew today it was important to find a way to win,” McCourty said. “I was proud and excited of the way we came back and kept fighting and kept playing and were able to make some key plays in the game that were big us defensively.”
The Patriots also collected five sacks, with Chandler Jones getting two.
“(Roethlisberger) was holding the ball,” Jones said. “I owe it to the secondary to be honest with you. If you go and cut up the film and watch the game, both of those sacks I had were coverage sacks.”
Special return for Edelman
Clinging to a 27-24 lead, Julian Edelman ripped off a 43-yard punt return to help keep field position in the Patriots' favor. Just five plays later, Brady hit Dobson for a 17-yard touchdown from which the Steelers never recovered.
“It was definitely good to get that,” Edelman said. “The guys did a great job. I wish I would have finished it. There were a lot more yards on that field, and we're just going to work hard to finish it, but the guys did a good job.”
Bruce Lerch is a freelance writer.
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