Patriots dominate Steelers in season-opening blowout in Foxborough – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Patriots dominate Steelers in season-opening blowout in Foxborough - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Patriots dont need Antonio Brown, which makes him a gamble worth taking
The best pound-for-pound receiver in the NFL goes and Tasmanian-Devils his way out of Oakland, burning down everything around him right up to and including his own damn feet, and when he pops up out of the wreckage, whats waiting for Antonio Brown? Why, a perfectly thrown spiral from Tom [expletive] Brady, of course.

This is why everyone hates you, New England. No matter what woes befall the rest of the league, no matter how many conspiracy theories both baseless and valid you whip up, no matter how much you try to convince us that your horde of scrappy Do-Your-Jobers are the real victims in Roger Goodells NFL, we know the truth:

You are the absolute luckiest team and fans in human history, and every news cycle that breaks New Englands way—which is every damn news cycle—only underlines that fact in blood.

Youre the kid who gets Christmas every week, the dog who gets grilled steak for every meal. Youre the lottery winner who collects their check, swings by the Quick Stop on the way home, and—oh, would you look at that!—wins another lottery.

They hate us cause they aint us, Boston fans bray, and theyre absolutely right. We hate the fact that somehow, in every situation, against all odds, all laws of nature, all belief in a benevolent higher power, New England wins, again and again. Every year, Bill Belichick plucks the perfect combination of castoffs, has-beens and never-weres and transforms them into a sleek playoff-bound machine. Every year, Brady turns some random gaggle of grocery baggers and truck drivers into a ninja-lethal receiving corps.

The disgruntled wide out signed with the Patriots Saturday after his drama-filled saga in Oakland came to an end. Brown won’t be able to suit up in Week 1, but the Patriots have firmly re-established they are Super Bowl favorites once again. But first, New England must turn their attention to Brown’s other former team, the Steelers. Pittsburgh usually struggles in Foxboro, and are 5.5-point underdogs in this matchup. But will the new-Steelers era find success? From the opening kickoff to the final whistle, we break down the best ways to wager Sunday night football.

The AFC East has spent the past two decades rolling over like a needy puppy. The Chiefs, Steelers and Broncos suddenly forget how to play football when they head to Foxborough in January — and, strangely enough, the route to the Super Bowl always seems to run through Foxborough in January.

The first half in this one seems like a bit of a tough nut to crack. Pittsburgh had a 14-7 lead at halftime in last year’s meeting. And like we mentioned before we expect this pace to slow down after a fast start as both teams try to establish the run and the defenses settle in. Something to consider is Michel to score at anytime in the first half at +220. The reports out of camp was that he was working on his catching a lot this offseason, so that makes him even more versatile. But in the end the Under is the first half play we’re going with.

And then there are the Super Bowls. The Rams quivered into Jell-O on the big stage against New England earlier this year. The Falcons had a wooden stake sharpened and ready and somehow hammered it into their own hearts. All the Seahawks did was gift New England another ring by running the single dumbest play in the history of football. You realize that were two ridiculous Eli Manning throws and one just-barely-missed Gronk Hail Mary reception from nine Patriot Super Bowl wins? Nine. The football gods denied New England those wins because nine Patriots wins would have forced us to shut down the league once and for all.

Well. The rich get richer with AB coming to New England, resulting in Patriots’ hate is hitting peak levels. The thing is, heading into the season, the Patriots offense was arguably going to be one of the better in recent years. Josh Gordon is fully back joining Julian Edelman. So, the receiving corps is deeper than it has been in years. Sony Michel is the most talented back they’ve had since maybe Corey Dillon. James White is still there. And the list goes on.

Now Brady has his most dangerous deep weapon since Randy Moss. Brady now has a receiving corps of Antonio Brown, Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon, which is the kind of air attack you dont usually see outside of a four-team fantasy football league with your grandparents and your dog. Its like giving Mike Trout an aluminum bat, like letting LeBron James shoot on a 7-foot rim. Its not fair. Its not even in the same hemisphere as fair.

The Patriots were one of the best first quarter scoring teams in the NFL last season, averaging 5.7 points per contest. And at home that got even better, with the number increasing to 7.7 per game, only trailing the Chiefs in that category. Forty-two-year-old Tom Brady showed little signs of slowing down in 2018, throwing for 4,355 yards and 29 touchdowns despite playing with a patchwork crew of wide recivers.

Look, I dont blame Brown for wanting to play for the Patriots. Who wouldnt want to jump from the three-wheeled red wagon that is Oakland into the Lamborghini Murciélago that is New England? (License plate: DFLT THS.) But the way it all went down — Brown sowing chaos at every turn, raising the stakes every day like a player shoving more chips into the center of the table until the Raiders had no choice but to fold … why, its almost enough to make you think something was afoot. But thats crazy talk, right?

On the other side, the Steelers ranked 28th in the league when it came to first quarter points allowed. But Ben Roethlisberger did his best to counteract that, throwing for 5,129 yards and 34 touchdowns last season.With Gillette rocking on Sunday night, expect this game to get off to a fast start before both defenses settle in.

Bill Belichick getting ready to send a 2041 7th-round pick to the Raiders in exchange for Antonio Brown… pic.twitter.com/kMghSfXp8W

But they won’t be alone. The Pittsburgh backfield officially belongs to James Conner. Even though the Steelers have a pass first mentality, they know they’ll need some help from Conner. With the focus on running the football and two improving defenses this is a strong candidate to go Under.

Dead serious here: if Antonio Brown thought the Raiders were going to cut him, then apologized, THEN got word (via Rosenhaus) that the Patriots were interested, its totally possible he forced his way out of Oakland last night.

The defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots close out Sunday’s NFL slate as they welcome the Pittsburgh Steelers to town, but the news of the day isn’t about the Pats beginning their quest for a seventh title. It’s all about newest acquisition Antonio Brown.

New England, this is why nobody cares about deflate-gate, even though you were on the right side of that one. This is why nobody buys your victim act, why nobody takes your side against Goodell. Youve gotten everything you could want as fans, and somehow, you still keep getting more.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call 1-800-GAMBLER. 21+. NJ only. Odds may vary. Eligibility restrictions apply. See website for details.

Someday, New England is going to fall apart, we whisper, quietly, for fear of attracting the attention of the chowderheads. Someday, Belichick will retire, and Brady will go off to a life of hermetically sealed supermodel bliss, and New England will struggle to get to .500. And then something like Antonio Brown happens, and were reminded again that someday is not today.

Five months from now, theres a terrifyingly good chance that New England will bulldoze its way through the league, that Goodell will hand the Lombardi Trophy to Belichick, that Brady will once again flash that insufferable RINGZZZ grin in a cascade of confetti. Once again, Brady will hold up multiple fingers to symbolize all of New Englands Super Bowls. And once again, well all hold up just one in response.

Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.

FOXSBOROUGH — At least, thats what the destination reads on Antonio Browns Instagram feed, where a caricatured vision of Bill Belichick is driving the bus to the wide receivers next home in the National Football League.

Call it a rushed inaccuracy by Browns social media team, if you will, a harried post in the midst of a wild Saturday afternoon.

Or perhaps it was merely the first blunder in a transaction that is destined for nothing but failure.

In a move that nobody, expect for everybody, saw coming, in the hours after being released by the Oakland Raiders, Antonio Brown, arguably the most dominant pass-catcher in the NFL, inked a one-year, $15 million deal with the New England Patriots, including a $9 million signing bonus and $10 million guaranteed.

This marriage was inevitable. Either from the moment Browns dispute with Oakland general manager Mike Mayock last week led to his suspension-not-suspension. Or, depending on how you like your conspiracy theories cooked, the process began sometime last season when Brown pushed his jackass act to 11 while still with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

One way or another, Brown was going to find his way to the New England Patriots. Theres no collusion in being a selfish pinhole.

The circus act is coming to Foxsborough, the same one Patriots fans derided and rolled their eyes at from afar in the past. Frostbitten feet? Hot air balloons? Refusing to wear his helmet? All before Week 1 of the preseason? Yeah, good luck with that, Raiders. Idiots.

But at least, it seems, Browns arrival here isnt being greeted with a sudden, and immediate, reversal of attitude. In the midst of the deserved smugness that comes on the eve of raising a sixth Super Bowl banner, there seems to be a wait-and-see mantra from most Patriot fans, acutely aware of just how badly this can all go, knowing that the moment it does, Bill Belichick will put an end to the experiment.

Its not like Brown was found on the scrap heap like a handful of other Belichick projects. Randy Moss and Corey Dillion were additions purchased on the decline. Albert Haynesworth was a gamble on par with hitting on 21. Chad Johnson/Ochocinco was a Hail Mary that turned out to be a a season of penance for the yakker, who seemingly had a firmer understanding of anything besides the Patriots playbook.

But in Antonio Brown, Belichick and Tom Brady are receiving a different creature, a wide receiver in his prime who would be an attractive purchase for most everybody in the league. Even in the midst of his disgruntled season with the Steelers in 2018, Brown managed to catch 15 touchdowns to go along with 1,297 yards. Mind you, the year before he became a Patriot, Moss had 553 yards receiving and a whopping three touchdowns. Dillon ran for 541 yards and two touchdowns in his final season with the Cincinnati Bengals. No, this move isnt exactly in the same mold.

Add Brown to a receiving mix that already includes Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, Demaryrius Thomas, and Phillip Dorsett, and the Patriots depth chart has gone from a springtime drought to a September bloom. The visions of Brady and friends dominating opponents by consistently airing it out is a salivating thought for Patriots fans, even as the soccer moms among us worry about how running up the score sends the wrong message to the children.

Not like the entire Brown saga hasnt done that already. In order to get out of NFL purgatory (quite literally, with the eventually Las Vegas-bound Raiders), Brown acted like a rancid toddler until he got what he wanted. Months after the Steelers rebuffed the Patriots reported interest in making a trade for Brown, the receiver orchestrated his escape on his own. Maybe New England always was his intending landing spot. He certainly never intended to play even one series for Jon Gruden in Oakland.

Its a gamble, probably more so for Brown than it is Belichick. Much like Moss, three years into his tenure here, when he no longer could carry the Earth on his shoulders, the head coach knew when to send the problem away. If Brown proves to become a distraction that even he, the same head coach who has managed excellence in the midst of Spygate, Deflategate, and Aaron Hernandez, then hell end things swiftly. What will it cost him? The Patriots will probably win the Super Bowl with Antonio Brown. Theyll also probably win it without him. Whatever, man.

Thirty-one other teams cant make such a claim, or at least enough of one to make the excuse that Brown and his antics are a good idea. But even a talent as dominant as Brown has a shelf life, and his could be collecting some dust even as he signs a deal with his new team. If Brown cant act like an adult for the Patriots, enough that it spells a divorce before seasons end, then where else is there? Jerry Jones would probably chase after him with some vigor, but beyond that, Browns welcome elsewhere would be DOA.

In New England? Anyone who hasnt already done an ingenuous 180 on Brown might only be waiting until his first appearance in a Patriots uniform, perhaps as early as Week 2 in Miami. The last time the Patriots played the Dolphins there, they were the victim of a last-second miracle. As the 2019 season gets ready to begin, they benefited from a different sort of surprise, delivering them one of the leagues most commanding — and belittled — players right into laps already sagging from the weight of their jewelry.


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