Steelers notebook: Three more starters injured vs. Patriots

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The Steelers continued to have pain without gain as the injuries mounted right along with the losses.

Three starters left in the fourth quarter Sunday with injuries. Linebacker Vince Williams wobbled off with a concussion (Stevenson Sylvester replaced him). Tackle Marcus Gilbert left with an ankle injury (Mike Adams) and Ike Taylor left late with a concussion (Cortez Allen).

Coach Mike Tomlin had no updates on the three injuries.

No quit in QB

Ben Roethlisberger, who has taken every snap at quarterback this year, remained in the game right to the bitter end.

Tomlin and the quarterback said there never was any thought of removing him for safety’s sake.

“Because we have to get better and those are snap opportunities to get better,” Tomlin explained. “We ain’t turning it down, we ain’t running from anything. … The guys that were healthy were going to stay on the grass and finish the game.”

Said Roethlisberger, “I wouldn’t have [come out]. They would have had to drag me off. I’m not going to quit. I’m going to stay out there and fight until the end.”

Brady’s big day

Among other things, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady tied an NFL record by leading the Patriots to a sixth 50-point game and broke another by throwing four touchdown passes without an interception for the 15th time. He also passed Warren Moon for sixth place on the NFL career completions list with 3,992 and Fran Tarkenton for seventh place on the passing yards list with 47,062. His 432 passing yards were the third-best single-game total of his Hall of Fame-caliber career.

“I think, for the most part, that was our best day of execution,” Brady said. “That was pretty sweet. You throw it and they catch it and run with it. It makes for a good day for the quarterback.”

Tight end key for Patriots

Rob Gronkowski, playing in just his third game of the season, had a career-high nine catches for 143 yards. In one drive in the first quarter, he had catches for 11, 34, 27 and 6 yards. Add it up and that’s four catches for 78 yards. “When he’s healthy and on the field, he’s tough to stop,” Brady said. “He’s a great run blocker and what he does for us in the passing game, it’s tough to match up. And if the attention goes to Gronk with extra coverage, it opens it up for all the other guys. He’s a big presence on our team.”

Pop the champagne

Brady, noting the World Series win Wednesday night by the Boston Red Sox against the St. Louis Cardinals, said, “It’s been a great week in Boston.”

Another slow start

The Steelers continued to start slowly and trailed the Patriots, 7-0, after the first quarter. They have been outscored, 61-19, in first quarters this season.

Bell does well, but ...

Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell managed 74 yards on 16 carries, including his longest run of the season, 25 yards, but the Steelers still played its 16th consecutive game, the equivalent of one full season, without a 100-yard rusher.

Patriots receivers shine

After allowing only one 100-yard performance by an opposing receiver all season, the Steelers allowed three such performances Sunday in the same game. New England’s Danny Amendola (122), Aaron Dobson (130), and Gronkowski (143) surpassed 100 yards.

“Gronk is a great player,” Amendola said. “Everybody tries to double-team him and do a lot of things to try and take him out of the game, so it’s on a lot of other guys to get the job done and, you know, I felt like offensively, we did some things to get the team moving, so it was a good day.”

A bad memory

With 432 yards, Brady became the first opposing quarterback to throw for even 300 against the Steelers since Dallas’ Tony Romo Dec. 16, 2012.

Exclusive coaches club

The Patriots’ win was coach Bill Belichick’s 212th. At 212-111, he is one of only three coaches all time with 100 more victories than losses. The others are Don Shula (347-173-6) and George Halas (324-151-31).

QB matchup

Brady is 7-2 against the Steelers including the postseason, with 18 touchdowns and only three interceptions.

Roethlisberger is 3-5 against the Patriots including the postseason, with 18 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

Inactives

Steelers: Landry Jones, Markus Wheaton, Curtis Brown, Richard Gordon, David DeCastro and Hebron Fangupo. Brown did not practice this week because there was a death in his family.

Patriots: Aqib Talib, Leon Washington, Steve Beauharnais, Chris Barker, Josh Boyce, Kenbrell Thompkins and Jake Bequette.

Quick hits

• Jerricho Cotchery’s three touchdowns were a career high.

• Tomlin normally defers his choice until the second half, but when the Steelers won the coin toss, he decided they would receive. Felix Jones returned the kickoff to the 40 and the Steelers marched to the New England 36, where Roethlisberger was sacked and fumbled the ball away on third down.

• Roethlisberger’s four touchdown passes give him 203 for his career, nine from tying Terry Bradshaw for the team record.

• Not only were those 55 points the most scored against the Steelers, it tied the most the Patriots scored in a game.

• Troy Polamalu forced a fumble that LaMarr Woodley recovered, only the second fumble recovery of the season for the Steelers. It came at the New England 36 and set up Roethlisberger’s 20-yard touchdown pass to Jerricho Cotchery to pull them within 24-17 in the third quarter.

• Pittsburgher Jerry Bergman served as head linesman for the game.

• Brady passed for more than 300 yards in a game for the 55th time in his career, the fifth most in NFL history. His 432 yards passing were the third most in his career.

• The Patriots honored the World Series champion Boston Red Sox before the game with a number of players introduced on the field along with their championship trophy.

• The Steelers now have been outscored in the first quarter this season, 61-19.

• Tomlin said he re-signed linebacker Kion Wilson two weeks ago and cut running back Isaac Redman because they needed Wilson to play special teams. Wilson has been inactive since, including Sunday.


Ed Bouchette: ebouchette@post-gazette.com and Twitter @EdBouchette. Ron Cook and Gene Collier contributed to this report.

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