Patriots Dismantle Steelers To Win Another AFC Championship
The Patriots are headed to the Super Bowl...again. It's almost like an annual event, watching New England play for the Lombardi Trophy.
In the AFC Championship game, they proved their dominance yet again over a hobbled Steelers' team. Pittsburgh's star running back Le'veon Bell left the game in the first quarter, and the Steelers simply weren't able to keep up with New England's offensive output in the 36-17 win for the Patriots.
Steelers' Head Coach Mike Tomlin didn't make any excuses after the loss. Even with the key injury, Tomlin expected his team to play better on such a big stage.
"We got to be capable to overcome things like this," Tomlin stated frankly. "The reality is we didn't make enough plays in any phase of the game."
The Patriots outgained the Steelers, 431 yards to 368, but the biggest difference was in the turnover department. Pittsburgh turned the ball over twice, and New England never gave the ball away.
Both quarterbacks broke the 300 yard mark, but Tom Brady out-dueled Ben Roethlisberger to punch the Patriots' ticket to the Super Bowl.
Brady threw for 384 yards and three scores in another stellar performance, overshadowing Roethlisberger's 314 yards. It was a bitter loss for Big Ben, but he handled the loss with class and gave compliments to Brady after the game.
"There's a reason he's one of the best to ever play the game," Roethlisberger admitted. "It's why we have respect for him, and we know coming into this environment what we're up against, and that's why we had to play a near flawless game, and we didn't."
The Steelers made mistakes and the Patriots didn't. It's a simple explanation for the game, but it's the most accurate description of what happened.
Over the years, New England fans started talking about the "Patriot Way." They usually reference the way the no-nonsense mentality Head Coach Bill Belichick demands, but the true interpretation of it is making the most of their talent.
For example, the Patriots' top receiver was Chris Hogan, a cast-off from several NFL franchises. They took somebody else's trash and turned it into treasure.
Hogan set a Patriots' record for yardage in a playoff game with 180 yards on nine catches, and he collected two touchdowns to sweeten the deal. Brady tried to act like he was a Pro-Bowler, but the truth is he was a nobody before this season.
"To lead the league in average yards per catch is spectacular. He's made big plays for us all season," Brady said about Hogan after the game. "He made big plays for the biggest game of the year for us."
Julian Edelman also chipped in eight catches for 118 yards and a touchdown too, proving you don't have to be over six feet to harass NFL defenders.
To be honest, the game was never close. New England stepped on their throat in the first half, and they never released the pressure.
The AFC and NFC Championship games were very similar. Both winning teams put on a dominant performance and never let their opponent get off the mat. Now, it's the Patriots and Falcons in the Super Bowl, basically a Saints fan's nightmare.
There are a lot of Patriots haters out there, but you can't deny their success rate. New England is in the Super Bowl again, and Brady is breaking it down to celebrate.
Patriots dance their way into the Super Bowl! pic.twitter.com/XU70L8e210
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 23, 2017