NFL roundup: Brady, Patriots top Steelers 39-26

November 15, 2010|By Baltimore Sun reporter

New England 39, Pittsburgh 26

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Tom Brady maintained his mastery of the Steelers, throwing three touchdown passes to tight end Rob Gronkowski and scoring once himself, and the Patriots bounced back from an embarrassing 20-point loss by beating the Steelers 39-26 on Sunday night. No NFL team wins more on its home field than Pittsburgh, but no opposing player wins there like Brady, who has won six of seven overall against the Steelers and four of five at Heinz Field. He was 30 of 43 for 350 yards with no sacks or interceptions, and now has 14 career TD throws and three interceptions against the Steelers. The Patriots and AFC East-rival Jets are tied for the conference's top record at 7-2. Pittsburgh (6-3), its normally dominating defense shredded by Brady during its second home-field loss this season, drops back into a first-place tie with Baltimore in the AFC North. The Steelers played most of the game without wide receiver Hines Ward (neck), whose streak of 186 consecutive games with a reception ended. Brady threw only one incompletion during a 70-yard drive on New England's first possession that ended with his 19-yard TD throw to Gronkowski, a rookie who played his high school senior season in Pittsburgh. New England started the second half with a near-identical 78-yard drive that Brady finished off with a 9-yard throw to Gronkowski, making it 17-3 and silencing a partisan crowd of 64,359 that rarely sees a rival quarterback being so effective and efficient. Except Brady, of course. As good as ever against Pittsburgh, he was more emotional than usual -- screaming during huddles, yelling at linemen for penalties -- perhaps reflecting his unhappiness at losing 34-14 the week before at Cleveland. Brady, who has averaged 373 yards in his last three starts against Pittsburgh, found Gronkowski for a third time on a 25-yarder that upped it to 36-18 and emptied out whatever fans hadn't already left. Brady methodically led drive after drive by throwing underneath Pittsburgh's two-deep zone defense. The quick throws -- welcome back, Wes Welker -- confused the Steelers' defense and negated Pittsburgh's oft-successful blitzing schemes. Welker, whose production has been nearly cut in half since last season and reduced even more since Randy Moss' departure, made eight catches for 89 yards. Gronkowski had five for 72 yards. BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran for 87 yards, the most against Pittsburgh's defense this season. James Sanders effectively ended it with a 32-yard touchdown return of an interception with 8 1/2 minutes remaining on a throw by Roethlisberger that was tipped by Patrick Chung -- though there were three more touchdowns, two by Pittsburgh.

NY Jets 26, Cleveland 20 (OT)

Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - Mark Sanchez hit Santonio Holmes for a 37- yard touchdown in the waning seconds of overtime to lift the New York Jets over Cleveland, 26-20. The contest appeared to be headed for the first tie in the NFL since the Philadelphia Eagles and Cincinnati Bengals ended in a 13-all deadlock nearly two years ago, but the Jets received the football on the Browns' 37 after a modest punt return by former Raven Jim Leonhard. On the first play of the series, Sanchez dropped back and found Holmes, who broke free over the middle and raced the remainder of the way down the left sideline for the deciding score. Sanchez finished 27-of-44 for 299 yards, two touchdowns and an interception for the Jets (7-2), who played back-to-back overtime games for the first time since 2003 and avoided their first tie since 1988. Holmes ended with 76 yards on five catches and Shonn Greene posted 72 yards on 20 carries for New York, which posted a 23-20 overtime win at Detroit last week. Colt McCoy wound up throwing for 205 yards and a score on 18-of-31 passing for the Browns (3-6), who haven't won an OT contest since a 33-30 decision at Baltimore on November 18, 2006. Peyton Hillis added 82 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries.

Buffalo 14, Detroit 12

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