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Patriots expose Steelers' problems at quarterback while getting encouragement effort from Mac Jones

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PITTSBURGH — Relief and fatigue were written on Mac Jones’ face as the second-year quarterback addressed the media after the Patriots beat the Steelers 17-14 in Week 2. A back injury to lead New England to victory.

By outsmarting opponent Mitch Trubisky, Jones and his teammates defeated a high-flying Pittsburgh team after a Week 1 upset victory over the defending AFC champions in Miami last Sunday. recovered from an unstable season opener. The Steelers weren’t able to replicate that magic on Sunday, but Jones made the most of his Tom Brady impression to lead New England to victory.

“Obviously, we wanted to improve a lot of things,” said Jones, who is making his 11th start in the NFL. ….offensive line played amazing and really didn’t even get hit so hats off to them.Run game, pass game, they made it work. It was something we were proud of. It’s something we have to keep doing.

Jones not being hit, or more specifically not being sacked, doesn’t bode well for the Steelers and coach Mike Tomlin.IR. Jones took advantage of Watt’s absence as he stood tall in his pocket while completing a string of completions in the middle of the Pittsburgh defense. Jones also went deep with a heavy blow just before halftime when he threw a 44-yard dime to Nelson Agholor just before halftime to give New England a 10-3 halftime lead.

Unlike their loss in Miami, the Patriots’ early success throwing the ball (Jakobi Myers had three big catches on New England’s first drive that ended in a field goal) turned the road into their ground attack. opened. He had 124 yards on 31 carries for the Patriots led by Damian Harris. Harris’ 2-yard touchdown run in the 3rd quarter gave the Patriots a 17–6 lead, and after Brenden Schooler recovered Gunner Olshevski’s muff punt, the ball went to New England at the Steelers’ 10-yard line. gave

“If you win man-to-man, you can run the ball well because it’s a counter defense,” Agholor said of the importance of New England’s aerial success. “If they can pass the ball when they become man, then they need to play in the zone and we can cut them more centrally.”

Jones sacked Joe Burrow seven times a week ago, frustrating the Steelers’ defense, which forced five turnovers from the Bengals’ quarterback. Minka Fitzpatrick came up with a pick in the first quarter to set up the Steelers’ first points, but Pittsburgh missed several other opportunities to make big plays against Jones. , made them pay in the final minutes of the game. Because his 5-yard run was one of three third-down conversions New England picked up before lining up in winning formation.

Steelers defensive back Tre Norwood told CBS Sports after the game when he was asked about Jones. “It’s only the defensive side that needs to be cleaned up to do more missions and such. Just make sure you’re doing it whenever you have the chance.”

Sunday’s game strengthened Jones’ ability to win games for the Patriots, but Trubisky was unable to win over the home crowd in his first start at Acrisure Stadium. Both quarterbacks completed 21 passes while throwing 1 interception. However, Jones threw for 252 yards on 33 attempts against Trubisky’s 168 yards. It was the second time in many games Trubisky failed to reach 200 yards in the air.

Patriots veteran safety and defensive captain Devin McCourty said, “They had some preparations in place and I thought they were able to pull it off well. I thought they had some plays. rice field [Diontae] Johnson split the safety and we did a good job of combining pass rushing and coverage. ”

The big-play element that was missing in Cincinnati last Sunday was nowhere to be seen in the Steelers’ offense. Rookie receiver George Pickens, who stood out in training camp, finished the game with one catch. Johnson finished as the Steelers’ leading receiver with just 57 yards on six catches. Nagy Harris was second on the Steelers with five catches and nearly as many rushing yards (49) and receiving yards (40).

It was Trubisky’s decision to throw shortstop to Harris that caused fan outrage on several occasions, especially during the Steelers’ last two possessions. Both drives ended with Trubisky attempting a short pass to Harris. An incomplete pass, Trubisky’s final throw at third-and-two from the Steelers’ 28-yard line, led to a punt with 6:46 remaining. The Steelers were unable to get the ball back as Jones and the Patriots ran out of time.

“We can do better in everything,” Trubisky said after the game. “I can make better decisions. We missed some opportunities. I missed some throws. There were some things we weren’t on the same page.” I just felt like I missed an opportunity for myself and the offense.There are a lot of things we can do better.”

Steelers fans undoubtedly agree with their quarterback. When asked about how he was able to prevent Zu from taking a deep shot downfield and completing it, he helped the opposing quarterback.

“Mitch did a great job taking Nagy on some of those checkdowns, and they made some gains there,” Belichick said. We got back there and he dropped it….but they took a checkdown and thought they hit the perimeter for sure with Johnson and a touchdown. It was probably a little more productive for him than the running game.

A season isn’t decided in one game, but it’s fair to say that Sunday’s game provided a clearer insight into where both teams will be two weeks into the season. Both teams have good defenses capable of winning games, but the Steelers’ defense will have to go back to having quarterbacks on its back after failing on Sunday. It showed that if Jones could find a rhythm early like Sunday, he could open up the rest of New England’s offense, especially the running game.

From Pittsburgh’s perspective, there are other concerns. The Steelers continue to struggle to run the ball, and the lack of big plays from the passing game doesn’t make Harris’ job any easier. continue to struggle to pry holes in the running game, you’re going to need more splash plays from the passing game.

Luckily for the Steelers, they have 15 games left to right on the ship. Pittsburgh’s next game, Thursday night’s showdown with the Browns in Cleveland, can’t come anytime soon, especially for the quarterback.

“When everyone is making touches and moving the ball down the field, that’s when you feel good,” Trubisky said. I just don’t want to think about it.

The Patriots have a full week before facing the Ravens in their first home game of the season. While he won’t be happy with Sunday’s win, Belichick was candid about how an early-season win in a hostile environment will affect his team, especially a young one.

“It enhances what we’re doing,” Belichick said. “They were the way we prepared, the way we played. It was enough to come here and win against a good football team….The Steelers are tough. Coach Tomlin, this organization We consistently put out quality football teams.It feels good to come here and win.

“It’s not easy, but we accept it.”