It wasn't the cleanest game from the New England Patriots, but Tom Brady and company got a big 27-16 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field.
In a match up of AFC powerhouses, the Patriots led the entire way, but the Steelers hung around until the beginning of the fourth quarter. With the Patriots up 20-16 in that frame, Brady found Rob Gronkowski down the middle of the field for a 36-yard touchdown, which put the game out of reach for Pittsburgh.
In all, Brady was 19-of-26 for 222 yards and two touchdowns. On the season, Brady has thrown for 1,004 yards, 10 touchdowns and no interceptions. He is already being considered an MVP candidate through just three games.
The Patriots uncharacteristically turned the football over twice. Chris Hogan fumbled on the Pats' opening drive, and Julian Edelman coughed the ball up while returning a punt in the fourth quarter. The Pats were able to escape unscathed, but those could have been huge difference makers had the Steelers capitalized on both.
Meanwhile, Gronk's touchdown catch was the 68th of his career, passing Stanley Morgan for the most in team history.
LeGarrette Blount also had a huge day, rushing 24 times for 127 yards and two touchdowns. He averaged 5.3 yards per carry and broke two big runs of 11 and 25 yards in the third quarter on a drive that resulted in a Patriots touchdown to make it 20-16.
On the other side, All-Pro running back Le'Veon Bell was a force. He carried the ball 21 times for only 81 yards and caught 10 passes for another 68 yards. Bell found openings that weren't there all game long, sometimes dragging more than four defenders with him as he fought for every yard.
Antonio Brown also had himself a nice game, catching seven passes for 106 yards and also rushing once for 13 yards.
Backup quarterback Landry Jones played well, but he didn't do Pittsburgh any favors. After Hogan's turnover, Jones shot himself in the foot by throwing an interception to Malcolm Butler in the end zone while the game was still scoreless.
Jones went 29-of-47 for 277 yards and no scores and the interception that Patriots ended up capitalizing off of. On the ensuing drive, Brady hit James White for a 17-yard touchdown to open the scoring.
That play, plus two missed field goals from Chris Boswell wound up costing the Steelers dearly.
Speaking of missed kicks, Stephen Gostkowski missed another extra point, and has now missed kicks in five of seven games this year. With the season at the halfway point, there is a growing concern among Patriots fans about him, but he still has time to figure it out.
The Patriots improve to 6-1 and will travel to Buffalo to take on the Bills in a highly anticipated rematch this Sunday.