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15/02/2019 a las 08:49:42
PITTSBURGH (AP) — No last-second meltdown. No double-lateral magic by the opponents. No [url=http://www.officialpatriotslockerroom.com/elite-duke-dawson-jersey]Duke Dawson Jersey[/url] , the New England Patriots couldn’t point to anything fluky in a 17-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.Not after a game in which they were penalized 14 times for 106 yardsOne in which they punted on five straight possessions and managed all of three points in three trips to the red zone.One in which the Steelers finally figured out a way to slow down Rob Gronkowski and keep Tom Brady from carving them up, something he’d done with remarkable ease throughout the years.The Patriots (9-5) are still in comfortable position to win their 10th straight AFC East title. Yet rarely during their dynasty have they looked so vulnerable so late in the season. New England dropped its second straight and fell to 3-5 away from Gillette Stadium, meaning it will almost certainly have to go on the road at least once and possibly twice to reach another Super Bowl.Not that one seemed particularly close at hand during another anemic showing in their road white uniforms. The Patriots have lost five games in the regular season for the first time since 2009, which also happened to be the last time they finished under .500 on the road (2-6). A week ago it was Miami’s dramatic 69-yard series of laterals on the final snap. This time around, the issues were far more basic.“We obviously haven’t played very well on the road,” Brady said. “Obviously what we are doing isn’t good enough. It’s just a cumulative thing. We’re out here as a team trying to compete. When you’re on the road you have to play well. Some things are a little bit more challenging on the road. We have to embrace those things. And we just haven’t done a great job on that.”Brady finished 25 of 36 for 279 yards to become the fourth player in NFL history to top 70,000 career yards passing, but had trouble getting the ball downfield after a busted coverage left Chris Hogan open for a 63-yard score on New England’s third offensive snap. Gronkowski, who came in averaging 111 yards receiving in six games against Pittsburgh, caught two passes for 21 yards.The Patriots also had trouble finishing drives. Each of their last three possessions ended up in the red zone [url=http://www.officialpatriotslockerroom.com/elite-james-harrison-jersey]Authentic James Harrison Jersey[/url] , but the only points they managed were a 33-yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal in the third quarter that trimmed Pittsburgh’s lead to 14-10.“Just not converting, I think that’s all it is,” running back James White said. “Not executing the way we want to. We have to be better.”All the penalties didn’t help. The missteps came in a wide variety of ways, from pass interference to false starts to offensive and defensive holding, mistakes that made momentum difficult to come by. The most damaging came in the final moments.New England had second-and-5 at the Pittsburgh 11 with 37 seconds to go needing a touchdown. Right guard Shaq Mason was flagged for holding, pushing the ball back to the 21. Three Brady incompletions — the last a pass intended for Julian Edelman that was broken up by safety Morgan Burnett — and it was over.“Obviously, there is holding on every play in the NFL,” Brady said. “That’s what we do, we hold. It’s just whether you get called or not. If they are calling it, then you just have to do a little bit less of it.”Edelman [url=http://www.officialpatriotslockerroom.com/elite-andre-tippett-jersey]Limited Andre Tippett Jersey[/url] , who wore cleats honoring the 11 people killed in a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue in October, pointed the finger at himself for some of New England’s issues.“We definitely have to be a little more poised,” Edelman said. “That starts with me. I had two penalties. It put us in a hole. We had a lot of penalties and you can’t have that against a good team. Plain and simple. That’s a good football team.”Just one that had not played like it lately. The Steelers came in having lost three straight and winless against New England since 2011. Yet they never trailed and had little trouble moving the ball on the ground with rookie running back Jaylen Samuels, who ran for a season-high 142 yards in his second NFL start.The Patriots have allowed at least 104 yards in each of their five losses.“They did a good job of running the ball,” safety Duron Harmon said. “That’s something obviously the last few weeks we haven’t been as well against … but I know (the defensive linemen) are working their tails off to try and stop it and they’ll continue to work their tails off until we do stop them. I’m confident in the group we have.”It’s a swagger that comes from having come through so many times, swagger that may be lacking a bit this time around.“Every year is different, every team is different,” Gronkowski said. “Every year we just have to stick together. We have to keep on grinding. We have to keep on working and we’ve got to keep moving forward.” After years of declines, NFL television ratings are showing modest gains.Three of the league’s television partners have shown increases after the first nine weeks of the season while one remains flat. That is welcome news after ratings decreased 9.7 percent last season and 8 percent in 2016.“I’m glad the league has turned the corner. The top teams are very exciting and there are plenty of high-scoring games,” said Neal Pilson [url=http://www.officialpatriotslockerroom.com/elite-irving-fryar-jersey]Irving Fryar Jersey Salute to Service[/url] , the former president of CBS Sports who now runs his own sports television consulting company.Pilson said a major ratings driver has been the emergence of young quarterbacks like the Rams’ Jared Goff, the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes and the Bears’ Mitchell Trubisky. That has created a buzz not only with their teams but throughout the league.Another factor is that player protests against social and racial injustice during the national anthem have not been a major storyline this season. Pilson noted that “a few of those folks who said they were going to stop watching I don’t know how many did.”NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” package has shown the biggest improvement with an 8 percent increase from last season. It is averaging 19.7 million viewers, compared to 18.3 million last season.This past Sunday’s game between the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots averaged a league-high 23.7 million, and was the largest prime-time audience on any network since ABC aired the Academy Awards in March. NBC has seen increases all but one week compared to last season.“We’re looking forward to the second half of our schedule, which features many crucial divisional matchups, the Thanksgiving night game, plus the Week 17 flex game. We expect ‘Sunday Night Football’ to finish atop the prime-time rankings yet again,” NBC Sports Chairman Mark Lazarus said in a statement.ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” is averaging 11.418 million, which is up 3 percent (11.135 million). Pilson has been critical of scheduling for Thursday and Monday nights in past seasons, but he said the league has made improvements in those areas. ESPN will have one of the marquee games of the season on Nov. 19 when Kansas City faces the Los Angeles Rams in Mexico City.“For years I thought that they were burying those two nights but they have improved dramatically [url=http://www.officialpatriotslockerroom.com/elite-john-hannah-jersey]John Hannah Jersey[/url] ,” he said.CBS’s Sunday afternoon games are averaging 15.713 million viewers, which is up 1 percent from last season (15.528 million). This past Sunday’s slate of five games, which was headlined by Pittsburgh at Baltimore, had a 10.0 household rating, which was up 23 percent from the same week last season.CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus, whose network has the 2019 Super Bowl, has been pleased with advertising sales for the rest of the season and the Feb. 3 championship game in Atlanta.“There are a number of very good stories. Kansas City is a team of national interest, Mahomes has become a legit star and a lot of the big teams — including New Orleans, Pittsburgh and New England — are playing very well,” he said.Fox’s Sunday afternoon coverage is averaging more viewers than CBS at 17.299 million [url=http://www.officialpatriotslockerroom.com/elite-tedy-bruschi-jersey]Authentic Tedy Bruschi Jersey[/url] , but this is a decrease of less than 1 percent from last season (17.414 million).The only package that has sharply declined is Thursday Night Football. It is averaging 12.522 million viewers in its first season on Fox, which is down from the 14.134 million on CBS last season. Fox is hopeful that the numbers can rebound over the next month, which includes Green Bay at Seattle (Nov. 15), New Orleans at Dallas (Nov. 29) and the Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City (Dec. 13).Pilson and McManus think the league’s overall improvements could carry through the second half. That’s even better news for McManus, as he sees a number of potential Super Bowl matchups that would bode well for CBS.“I’m encouraged. There are a lot of good storylines that will carry throughout the next couple months,” he said. “With so much going on that is negative, people are looking for an escape and football provides that for a lot of people.”
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