It's fair to say that the NFL has had better seasons than the one its had in 2017. Whether it be on or off the field, there seems to be a new issue every week, all of them qualifying in the "not a good look" category. In other words, the shield was in desperate need of something, anything good to hang its hat on.
Enter week 15's marquee matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots, by far the biggest game of the season to date. The 4:25 p.m. ET thriller that the world tunes in for and forgets all about CTE, shitty Thursday Night games and the fact that the Browns exist for at least four or five hours. This was Brady vs. Big Ben. Tomlin vs. Belichick. Primanti Bros. vs. Chowdahhh. This was the game we've all been waiting for, and nothing could have ruined it. Nothing I tell you!
Let's see how that worked out..
First, some good news early in the first quarter:
While details on Shazier's recovery from his scary injury in week 13 are scarce, it was still good to see him in the building on Sunday. Awesome moment at Heinz Field and a well-deserved ovation for the linebacker.
Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, the extra jolt of energy from seeing their teammate didn't last long, and the Pats went right down the field and scored on a Rex Burkhead touchdown:
In typical random Patriots running back fashion, Burkhead refuses to stop scoring TDs:
The high-powered Steelers offense came right back with an answer of their own, going 69 yards (#nice) in eight plays, capped off by an 18-yard TD catch by Eli Rogers:
Yeah, you read that right, ELI. Rogers:
Pats fans reading that tweet ...
After a Patriots punt, the Steelers started marching down the field once again, getting all the way to the New England 25-yard line before the city of Pittsburgh's collective nightmare occurred:
Tough break for Brown, who was legitimately in the conversation to become the first wide receiver to ever win NFL MVP. Fans didn't take it to well either:
Sounds like Brown could be back for the playoffs, but he would not return to this game. After trading field goals, the Steelers put together the best drive of the game without the services of their MVP candidate, going 78 yards in 15 plays to end the half and take a 17-10 lead thanks to this ridiculous catch by Martavis Bryant:
The only thing crazier than the catch was the celebration, which was a reenactment of JuJu Smith Schuster's dirty hit on Vontaze Burfict in week 13:
Good to see JuJu learned his lesson...
Just when it looked like the Steelers were about to get over the hump and beat the Patriots for the first time in their last six matchups, New England was already back in the end zone and within a point:
Mr. Automatic Stephen Gostkowski would go on to miss the extra point, meaning the Steelers still led 17-16. Pittsburgh punted on their next drive, giving the ball back to Brady with a chance to retake the lead. Here comes the GOAT!
What!? Brady!? A pick!? Against the Steelers!?!?!?! Missed extra points, interceptions, you name it, things were going the Steelers way on Sunday. Five plays later, Le'Veon Bell scored to make it 24-16. Was it finally Pittsburgh's time?
Of course it wasn't, and Brady and the Patriots found a way, grabbing a field goal late in the fourth quarter to make it 24-19, then getting the stop they needed, and then finishing it off with a five play 77 yard TD drive that featured all the Gronk one could possibly handle, including a huge two-point conversion to make it 27-24 with under a minute to play:
Welp, that was it for Pittsburgh, another crushing loss to the Patr- OH MY GOODNESS THERE GOES JUJU!!!!!
An absolutely shocking turn of events. The Steelers were now in business, knowing a field goal could tie but had enough time to get into the end zone and win, which they appeared to on this Jesse James catch and reach:
Let's look at a few different angles of this clear game-winning touchdown by the Steelers:
As we now know, this was somehow overturned, because the NFL has no clue what is and isn't a catch anymore. Still the Steelers had one more chance:
Cripes. Not only do the Steelers blow it, but they allowed this to happen:
So original guys!
As for the
catch drop heard 'round the world, everybody and their mother had a take. There were conspiracy theorists:
Not sure Brady will ever recover from this vicious burn^^
There were "that's the rule!" nerds:
Speaking of nerds, here was the world's worst explanation:
Tough look for the NFL, a league that continues to confuse everyone on a weekly basis:
Among those confused were Joel Embid, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Aaron Paul, the most random trio ever:
Even more random than that was Tony Dungy's take being the best take of all:
Steelers will have to move on quickly, but this one is certainly going to sting:
Just another week in the NFL.