NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
It were both opponent's defences and their own penalties for New England Patriots to suffer from in the rematch of last AFC championship game against Pittsburgh Steelers. NFL champion team scored opener in Runningback Corey Dillon's touchdown rush but in the next series, home-team Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completed long pass to Flanker Hines Ward to touch down before Pittsburgh made Kicker Jeff Reed's field goal to lead Patriots, 7-10 in the 1st quarter.
It was the 2nd quarter in which Steelers defence sparked. Linebacker Clark Haggans invited visitor Runningback Kevin Faulk's fumble lost and Freesafty Chris Hope intercepted a ball that Right Defenceend Kimo von Oelhoffen deflected visitor Quarterback Tom Brady's pass.
Farthermore, it occured in the last quarter when New England defence made a big mistake to fail a comfortable victory. Refree called Cornerback Chad Scott's play a pass interference in Pittsburgh's 4th-down consequence about one minute to end. Next play, Steelers tied the game to complete a pass to FL Ward.
Patriots Kicker Adam Vinatieri contributed this night's win to make three of four field goal attempts including a winnig kick 5 seconds before time ended. It'll be a long long winding road, I think, for Bill Belichick's men to take the three consecutive titles in the Super Bowl XL next February.
New England 23-20 Pittsburgh (25 Sep)
(07-00) 1Q TD RB Dillon 4 yd run with Vinatieri's kick
(07-07) 1Q TD FL Ward 85 yd catch with Reed's kick
(07-10) 1Q FG K Reed 33 yd
(07-13) 3Q FG K Reed 24 yd
(10-13) 3Q FG K Vinatieri 48 yd
(17-13) 4Q TD RB Dillon 7 yd run with Vinatieri's kick
(20-13) 4Q FG K Vinatieri 35 yd
(20-20) 4Q TD FL Ward 4 yd catch with Reed's kick
(23-20) 4Q FG K Vinatieri 43 yd