The Pittsburgh Steelers almost ended New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s game-winning drive before it got started.
On first down late in the game for AFC supremacy Sunday, Brady threw a pass over the middle of the field intended for tight end Rob Gronkowski. It went right into the hands of Steelers safety Sean Davis, but he dropped the interception 1 second before the 2-minute warning. Brady and Gronkowski took the Patriots down the field, scoring the game-winning touchdown with 28 seconds remaining.
There is a fun stat that makes a very loose argument that the game was lost as soon as Davis dropped that potential interception. Going into the game, three of Brady’s last four game-winning drives came after a dropped interception, according to Football Outsider’s Scott Kacsmar.
It goes without saying that a lot more went into the Steelers’ loss than a dropped interception. They lost wide receiver Antonio Brown in the second quarter due to a calf injury. Linebacker Ryan Shazier is out for at least the rest of this season with a spinal injury. Gronkowski and Brady are arguably the two best players ever at their respective positions, and the Steelers were close to winning the game.
The Steelers got deep into Patriots territory on the final drive of the game with a 69-yard reception from wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. Tight end Jesse James appeared to score a touchdown on the next play, but replay showed that at the last possible moment he lost control of the football. The referees reversed the touchdown call, and two plays later Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw an interception.
Davis absolutely did not lose the game for the Steelers, but it’s never good to give Brady an extra opportunity.