Steelers’ defense stops Brady to clinch win

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Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes. Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Ben Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes, and the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense stopped Tom Brady and the visiting New England Patriots twice in the red zone in the fourth quarter to seal a 17-10 win Sunday.

The Steelers (8-5-1) ended a three-game losing streak. New England (9-5) lost its second straight and missed a chance to clinch the AFC East title. It was Pittsburgh’s first win against New England since October of 2011, with the Patriots winning the previous five meetings (including playoffs).

Roethlisberger threw for 235 yards, with scoring passes to Vance McDonald and Antonio Brown, and was intercepted twice by Duron Harmon. Rookie Jaylen Samuels ran for 142 yards on 19 carries (7.5 average).

Brady threw for 279 yards, including a touchdown to Chris Hogan, and one interception. Rob Gronkowski, who has been a Steelers-killer, was held to two catches for 21 yards.

Pittsburgh opened the game with an 11-play, 75-yard drive capped by Roethlisberger’s third-down 5-yard touchdown pass to McDonald.

The Patriots answered in three plays, the third one Brady’s 63-yard touchdown pass to Hogan, who caught it with no defender within 15 yards of him and easily galloped down the right sideline to make it 7-7 with 6:48 left in the first quarter.

With no runs on an eight-play, 92-yard drive, Roethlisberger guided Pittsburgh to a 14-7 lead early in the second, capped by a 17-yard scoring pass to Brown.

The drive was the first of more than 85 yards allowed by New England this season.

With 8:32 left in the third quarter, Chris Boswell missed a 32-yard field-goal attempt wide right that would have increased the Steelers’ lead to 10 points. It was the 12th missed kick by Boswell this season (seven field goals and five extra points), most in the NFL.

Stephen Gostkowski, conversely, hit his 50th straight field goal inside 40 yards when he hit a 33-yarder with 20 seconds left in the third quarter to pull New England to within 14-10.

The Patriots drove to the Pittsburgh 5 in the fourth quarter after Harmon’s second interception, but a penalty pushed them back to the 15. On third-and-goal from the 16, Joe Haden made a leaping interception of Brady at the 4 with 7:43 left, hauling it in along the sideline between Gronkowski and Julian Edelman.

The Steelers killed 5:13 off the clock by moving 66 yards in 13 plays, and Boswell redeemed himself with a 48-yard field goal to make it 17-10 with 2:30 left.

New England again drove into the red zone, reaching the Steelers’ 11 before a holding penalty moved the ball to the 21. Brady then threw three straight incompletions to end it, with Morgan Burnett sealing it by knocking down a fourth-and-15 throw to Edelman with 14 seconds remaining.

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