New England Patriots 27 Pittsburgh Steelers 24
Let’s get philosophical for a second. What is life? What is meaning? What is truly going on with the world? What is a catch?
Yes, the reversal of the Jesse James touchdown reception was the big story in this game as the two juggernauts of the AFC contested in a potential game of the year matchup as the Patriots overcame the Steelers thanks to the rulebook. By rule of law, Jesse James went to ground and lost control of the football as he reached for the goal line. Despite the fact that Jesse James had control of the ball as he crossed the plane of the goal line (what is typically needed for a player to score a TD who is not yet down by contact), because James did not ‘survive the ground’ as he went to ground, the catch is no longer a catch. By rule of law, the team in New York got this spot on. BUT THEY GOT THIS SO DAMN WRONG.
Yes, as a Patriots fan, it fills me with joy that this decision went my team’s way and as long as the Pats can get past the Bills and Jets, they will secure the #1 seed. However, what we’re seeing here is the rules are going against players who are trying their best. The rules are going against players trying to make great plays. If this was on any other part of the field, James wouldn’t have had to reach out for the goal line and it would have been a catch. By trying to do more for his team, James was penalised by a rule that was basically saying he didn’t have control of the football, which he did.
Another stupid rule this week led to the Raiders losing to the Cowboys on SNF as Derek Carr fumbled the ball out of the endzone whilst trying to reach for a touchdown. Can we please stop enforcing rules that goes against everything fans want to see? Tom Brady should decide the outcome of games. Ben Roethlisberger should decide the outcome of games. Derek Carr should decide the outcome of games. Al Riveron and his team in New York SHOULD NOT decide the outcome of games. A catch is a catch and the Patriots should have lost this game.
Sadly with the loss of Antonio Brown, it looks like there isn’t going to be a lot of debate when it comes to the MVP discussion as a big part of this game was Tom Brady’s ability of giving his team the best chance to win and he was helped massively by another career-highlight game from Rob Gronkowski, who went for 168 yards in this game, a career high. Throughout the game, especially in the fourth quarter, you could see how much faith Brady has in Gronkowski. Third down, Gronk. Fourth down, Gronk. Two point conversion, Gronk on the most obvious fade ever. But he’s one-on-one so there is only one winner there. And it’s the six foot six tight end with Polish heritage.
The biggest fundamental problem for the Patriots was shown throughout the game but none more so than on the sixty-nine yard reception by Juju Smith-Schuster that set up such an intense ending to the game. The Patriots have gone back to their early season ways of not being able to tackle. Yards after the catch are so important to a passing game that the Pats’ inability to bring a man down on the first attempt on such a consistent basis is frustrating to see and watching Juju run right past the Patriot defenders made my living room a very loud place.
However, the Patriots survive and now have the #1 seed. Hopefully, the Patriots won’t have to leave Foxboro now until the Superbowl in Minnesota as they have two home games to end the season and then we’re on to the playoffs.