With the bye week ahead, the New England Patriots picked a good time to start clicking on offense. With three receivers catching over 100 yards, the Patriots took advantage of a shaky Steelers secondary during their 55-31 win over Pittsburgh at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots improve to 7-2 with the win.
For the Steelers, the Patriots’ 55 points and 610 yards of offense were the most ever given up in team history.
Quarterback Tom Brady had a strong day, throwing for 432 yards and four touchdowns. The game marked Brady’s fifth game in his career with at least 400 yards passing and sets an NFL record for most games with at least four touchdowns and no interceptions.
Early on, the defense extended their turnover streak to 36 games after forcing a sack and fumble on Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger at the New England 42-yard line on the game’s opening drive.
The Patriots would drive down to the Steelers’ one yard line but Stevan Ridley was stopped on fourth and goal left New England with nothing to show.
Devon McCourty would come up big on the next play, intercepting Roethlisberger at the Steelers 34-yard line. The Patriots would score on the next play on a 34-yard touchdown pass to Danny Amendola with four minutes left in the first quarter.
The Steelers secondary continued to struggle against the Patriots offense, often leaving receivers wide open or giving them too much space to work with. A 19-yard pass in the end zone to Rob Gronkowski (9 catches, 143 yards) over two Pittsburgh defenders extended the lead to 14-0 lead with 10:30 left in the second quarter.
Perhaps having his best game since arriving in New England, Amendola caught four passes for 122 yards including a 57-yard pass off a Brady play-action with 6:11 left in the second quarter. The catch would set up a 20 yard field goal for New England.
Stevan Ridley broke the 100 yard barrier on the ground, rushing for 114 on 26 carries. The running back also had a one-yard touchdown with 10 seconds left in the first half and a five yard rush with 9:17 left that extended the lead to 16 and began a fourth quarter offensive explosion.
The Steelers attempted to mount a comeback in the third quarter, tying the game at 24-24 on two receptions by Jericho Cotchery but the Patriots would end the game on an impressive 31-7 run that put away the Steelers.
Streaking away from two Pittsburgh defenders, Aaron Dobson caught an 81-yard reception for his second touchdown with 5:15 left in the game. The rookie’s first TD of the day game earlier in the final quarter with 13:46 to play on a 17-yard reception.
LaGarrette Blount capped off the day with a five-yard touchdown run with 2:41 left in the game.
Below are game notes provided by Patriots Media Relations:
BRADY’S 432 YARDS ARE THIRD HIGHEST SINGLE-GAME TOTAL OF HIS CAREER
Tom Brady finished with 432 passing yards, marking the third highest single-game total of his 186-game career. The only times that Brady threw for more yards in a game that he did against Pittsburgh were on Sept. 12, 2011, when he had 517 passing yards at Miami and on Dec. 16, 2012, when Brady had 443 passing yards against San Francisco.
PATRIOTS’ 610 TOTAL NET YARDS RANKS THIRD IN TEAM HISTORY
The Patriots totaled 610 net yards against Pittsburgh, marking the third highest single-game net yardage total in the franchise’s 853-game history. The only times the Patriots have gained more net yards in a game were when they had a team-record 622 total net yards at Miami on Sept. 12, 2011, and when they had 619 total net yards against Tennessee on October 18, 2009.
PATRIOTS’ 55 POINTS TIES FIFTH HIGHEST SINGLE-TAME TOTAL
The Patriots’ 55 points tied the fifth-highest single-game total in team history. New England also had a 55-point output in a 55-21 win over the New York Jets on Oct. 29, 1978. The Patriots team record for most points scored in a game is 59, achieved on Oct. 18, 2009 against Tennessee and on Nov. 18, 2012 against Indianapolis.
PATRIOTS FORCE A TURNOVER FOR THE 36th STRAIGHT GAME
The Patriots have now forced a turnover in 36 straight games dating back to 2011 after Rob Ninkovich’s strip sack that was recovered by DL Joe Vellano in the first quarter. It is the longest active streak in the NFL. The NFL record for most consecutive games with a turnover since the merger in 1970 is 71 by Philadelphia from 1985-1990. The last time the Patriots did not register at least one turnover was on Oct. 9, 2011 vs. the New York Jets.
THE PATRIOTS FINISH WITH THREE RECEIVERS OVER 100 YARDS FOR FIRST TIME IN TEAM HISTORY
The Patriots had three players finish with 100 yards receiving in a single game for the first time in team history when Rob Gronkowski finished with 143 yards, Aaron Dobson with 130 yards and Danny Amendola with 122 yards.
DANNY AMENDOLA REGISTERS FIRST PATRIOTS TOUCHDOWN; BECOMES 50TH DIFFERENT PLAYER TO CATCH A TOUCHDOWN PASS FROM BRADY
Danny Amendola caught his first touchdown as a member of the Patriots on a 34-yard reception from Tom Brady in the first quarter. Amendola is the 50th different player to catch a touchdown pass from Tom Brady.
AMENDOLA CONNECTS WITH BRADY FOR A 57-YARD GAIN; LONGEST RECEPTION OF AMENDOLA’S CAREER
Danny Amendola and Tom Brady connected for a 57-yard reception in the second quarter. It is the longest reception of Amendola’s career. His previous best was a 56-yard reception 56 vs. Washington on Sept. 16, 2012 when he was with St. Louis.
STEVAN RIDLEY SCORED A TOUCHDOWN IN HIS FOURTH STRAIGHT GAME
Stevan Ridley scored a rushing touchdown in his fourth straight game. He had a 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and a 5-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter. In 2012, Ridley had a streak of six straight games with at least one rushing touchdown, which is tied for the second longest streak in team history. Ridley now has six touchdown runs in 2013.
RIDLEY HAS HIS SECOND TWO-TOUCHDOWN GAME OF 2013 AND FOURTH OF CAREER
Ridley scored on a 1-yard run in the second quarter and a 5-yard run in the fourth quarter. It is the fourth time in his career that he has rushed for two touchdowns in a single game and the second time he has done so in 2013. He scored two touchdowns in the win vs. New Orleans on Oct. 13.
GRONKOWSKI REACHES 200 CAREER RECEPTIONS
Rob Gronkowski caught his 200th career reception on a 27-yard pass from Tom Brady in the first quarter to become the 17th player in Patriots history to reach 200 receptions.
GRONKOWSKI ADDS TO HIS TEAM RECORD WITH HIS 11TH 100-YARD GAME
Gronkowski totaled a season-high 143 receiving yards, registering his 11th career 100-yard game and his second of the season. Gronkowski had eight receptions for 114 yards at the New York Jets on Oct. 20, 2013. Gronkowski leads all Patriots tight ends with 11 100-yard games. Ben Coates is second with 9 100-yard games.
GRONKOWSKI HAS THIRD 100-YARD FIRST HALF
Gronkowski finished the first half with 119 yards on seven receptions. It is the most yards he has ever had in a half and the third time he has ever had 100 yards in a half. His previous best was 118 yards in the first half at Washington on Dec. 11, 2011. He also had 106 yards in the first half vs. St. Louis on Oct. 28, 2012 in a game played in London.
GRONKOWSKI SETS CAREER HIGH IN RECEPTIONS
Gronkowski finished the game with nine receptions, setting a new single-game career high. His previous best was eight receptions in a game, a feat he accomplished five times.
GAME TIES FRANCHISE RECORD FOR COMBINED POINTS
The 86 combined points by the Patriots and Steelers in New England’s 55-31 win tied the Patriots franchise record for most combined points in a game. The other time New England had 86 combined points in a game was on Oct. 16, 1964, when the Boston Patriots and Oakland Raiders played to a 43-43 tie at Fenway Park.