The Pittsburgh Steelers 2016 season came to a crashing halt at Gillette Stadium to the tune of 36-17, as the Patriots beat the Steelers to advance to Super Bowl LI.
Dreams of climbing the Stairway to Seven will have to wait until 2017…. Or longer. Fret all you want about Le’Veon Bell’s injury – it certainly didn’t help – but DeAngelo Williams did fine in relief. No, the rapid reaction to this AFC Championship loss is that the Steelers aren’t ready yet:
- The Steelers defense failed to pressure Tom Brady in any meaningful way
- Not surprisingly, Brady tore up the Steelers pass defense
- Antonio Brown had a strong game, but he can’t carry the passing game alone
- The Steelers lack of a Red Zone alternative to Brown shown as a glaring weakness
- Ben Roethlisberger played another sub-par game away from Heinz Field
All of those factors above, except for perhaps the Steelers lack of a pass rush, could have been predicted, more or less going into the game. At the end of the day, neither Bud Dupree nor James Harrison were terribly effective in rushing from the edges, and the prospect of Lawrence Timmons and Ryan Shazier rushing from up the middle never emerged.
- But the Steelers inability to dominate the line of scrimmage amounts to an unwelcome surprise.
It would be unfair to say that the Patriots dominated the line of scrimmage throughout the game, but they did control it when it counted, both on offense and on defense. That, as much as anything else, is why New England has a shot at its 5th Super Bowl.
Here is the post-game poll where you can register your thoughts about why the Steelers came up short.
Unlike game ball polls, we’re not allowing multiple votes – you’ve got to take a stand on this one Steelers Nation. Likewise, we’re not opening the option of write ins, mainly because yours truly is in no mood to deal with internet trolls.
- However, if you have a reason why you think the Steelers lost to the Patriots that’s not represented in this poll, then please by all means leave a comment and state your case.
At the end of the day, the 2016 Pittsburgh Steelers had a strong season, but it did not have a successful season as the Lombardi Trophy will go to either the New England Patriots or the Atlanta Falcons.
The AFC Championship game ended after 11:00 pm here in Buenos Aires. Check back later for our full analysis of the Steelers 3rd AFC Championship loss to the New England Patriots.