Sun Sep 8 11:39pm ET
By JIMMY GOLEN
AP Sports Writer
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, right, celebrates his touchdown pass to Phillip Dorsett, center, in the second half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady passes against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first half an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
New England Patriots running back Sony Michel carries the ball in the second half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick watches from the sideline in the second half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back Kameron Kelly, below, tackles New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman after a pass reception in the first half an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, right, celebrates his touchdown pass to Phillip Dorsett, left, in the first half an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady passes under pressure from Pittsburgh Steelers defenders T.J. Watt (90), Cameron Heyward (97) and Bud Dupree (48) in the first half an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
New England Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon (10) runs for the goal line and a touchdown after catching a pass from Tom Brady in the first half an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger passes against the New England Patriots in the first half an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady drops back to pass under pressure from Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Stephon Tuitt (91) in the first half an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) The New England Patriots trolled the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday and then blew them out Sunday night.
A day after the acquiring former Steelers malcontent Antonio Brown, the defending Super Bowl champions showed they might not even need him, getting 341 yards and three touchdown passes from 42-year-old Tom Brady to beat Pittsburgh 33-3.
Phillip Dorsett caught two touchdown passes, including a 58-yard score, and Josh Gordon - another disgruntled receiver who wore out his welcome elsewhere - caught one TD pass. On the night New England unveiled its sixth NFL championship banner, Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman caught six passes for 83 yards and also completed a throw to help the Patriots begin their quest for back-to-back titles.
The last team to do that: New England in 2003 and `04.
Facing the last team to beat them, the Patriots opened a 20-0 lead before Pittsburgh kicked a field goal on fourth-and-goal from the 1 with 10:17 left in the third quarter. Brady responded with a 58-yard touchdown pass to Dorsett and a 27-3 lead.
Dorsett, who will be moving down the depth chart Monday when the Patriots make Brown's signing official, had four catches for 95 yards and the first multi-score game of his career.
Ben Roethlisberger completed 27 of 47 passes for 277 yards and an interception, with much of the production coming on non-scoring drives in garbage time. The offense showed the effects of losing two of its biggest playmakers: Brown, who talked and tweeted his way out of both Pittsburgh and Oakland in one offseason, and running back Le'Veon Bell, a two-time All-Pro who sat out all of last season to avoid a franchise tag.
In their place, James Conner gained 21 yards on 10 carries; the Steelers gained only 32 yards rushing in all. Top receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster caught six passes for 78 yards, 26 of it coming on one throw in the final six minutes with the Steelers already trailing 33-3.
The drive ended when Roethlisberger threw it into the end zone from the 41-yard line and was picked off by Devin McCourty.
The Steelers had five full possessions in the first half and punted on four of them, going three-and-out three times.
Brown, who asked for and was granted his release by Oakland on Saturday morning and then agreed to terms with the Patriots in the afternoon, and was not yet eligible to play.
There was no sign of him at the stadium. The Patriots are expected to announce on Monday the one-year deal that will guarantee the four-time All-Pro $9 million. Coach Bill Belichick declined to comment on Brown during the Patriots pregame radio show.
The Patriots made room for another Super Bowl memento above their south end zone.
The team unveiled their sixth championship banner before the game in a ceremony that included fireworks and a highlight video projected onto a screen covering much of the field.
Drew Bledsoe, Ty Law, Willie McGinest, Rob Ninkovich and Martellus Bennett brought out the first five Lombardi Trophies. Owner Robert Kraft brought out the one the team won in February by beating the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 - the one that was dented by Rob Gronkowski when he used it for batting practice at the Boston Red Sox opener.
Kraft received a big cheer from the fans, who seemed unbothered by charges that he solicited prostitution in a Florida massage parlor. Gronkowski, who retired in March, also received a loud cheer.
Steelers: Linebacker T.J. Watt left with a hip injury and did not return.
Patriots: Linebacker Marcus Cannon had a shoulder injury.
Steelers: Host the Seattle Seahawks next Sunday.
Patriots: Visit Miami next Sunday.
New England Patriots S Jordan Richards was released Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Washington Redskins S Deshazor Everett (ankle), LB Josh Harvey-Clemons (hamstring), OG Wes Martin (chest), S Montae Nicholson (ankle), CB Josh Norman (thigh, hand), Adrian Peterson (ankle) and RB Chris Thompson (toe) did not practice Tuesday, Oct. 22. WR Steven Sims Jr. (toe) and TE Vernon Davis (concussion) were limited. LB Ryan Kerrigan (elbow) and QB Case Keenum (shoulder, foot) participated fully in practice. OT Donald Penn (non-injury) was not given a practice designation after being limited one day earlier.
Free-agent DL Sylvester Williams (Saints) was signed to an undisclosed contract by the Los Angeles Chargers on Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen (hamstring) did not participate in practice Tuesday, Oct. 22. DE Everson Griffen (quad), DT Linval Joseph (knee), DE Hercules Mata'afa (neck), CB Xavier Rhodes (hip), TE Kyle Rudolph (thumb), OT Riley Reiff (ankle), LB Eric Kendricks (hip), LB Ben Gedeon (concussion), OG Josh Kline (foot) and DT Shamar Stephen (knee) each participated in full.
Updating a previous report, free-agent DB Justin Bethel (Ravens) signed an undisclosed contract with the New England Patriots shortly after meeting with the team on Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Free-agent TE Jerell Adams (Texans) was signed to the practice squad of the Houston Texans on Tuesday, Oct. 22.
New Orleans Saints RB Zach Zenner was released Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Free-agent DB Justin Bethel (Ravens) visited with the New England Patriots on Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Detroit Lions S Quandre Diggs was traded along with a 2021 seventh-round draft pick to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for a 2020 fifth-round draft pick on Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Free-agent RB Alfred Morris (Cowboys) signed an undisclosed contract with the Arizona Cardinals on Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Detroit Lions RB Kerryon Johnson (knee) underwent a procedure on his injured knee Tuesday, Oct. 22, and will be placed on the Reserve/Injured list, according to head coach Matt Patricia.
Fantasy Spin: Initial reports had Johnson missing "some time," but an IR designation would pretty much knock him out for the rest of the season. Sixth-round rookie Ty Johnson should handle the majority of snaps in his absence and should be added in all leagues, while J.D. McKissic figures to take the bulk of the work in the passing game. It's also entirely possible the Lions bring back C.J. Anderson to assume at least part of the early-down workload after cutting him earlier in the season.
Arizona Cardinals LB Ramik Wilson was released Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Free-agent LB Deone Bucannon (Buccaneers) signed an undisclosed contract with the New York Giants on Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen (hamstring) did not participate in practice Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Houston Texans TE Logan Paulsen was released Tuesday, Oct. 22.
The San Francisco 49ers expect wide receiver Deebo Samuel (groin) to return in Week 8 against the Carolina Panthers. Samuel missed Week 7 but appears ready to practice and play against a tough Panthers pass defense this Sunday. Despite showing exciting flashes this season, the rookie is averaging just 4.4 targets and 33.6 yards per game. His fantasy value will be further impaired with the acquisition of veteran wideout Emmanuel Sanders. With the Niners leaning heavily on their running game and tight end George Kittle dominating target share, Samuel is gradually fading from redraft relevance. Hell be a desperation WR5 if he suits on in Week 8.
Minnesota Vikings CB Marcus Sherels was released on Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Indianapolis Colts S Malik Hooker (knee) told reporters he expects to play in Week 8 versus the Denver Broncos. Hooker has been sidelined since Week 3 with a torn meniscus.
The San Francisco 49ers traded for wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders from the Denver Broncos on Tuesday. Reported by ESPNs Adam Schefter, the Niners will ship 2020 third and fourth round picks to Denver for Sanders and a 2020 fifth rounder. The 10-year pro should instantly upgrade a Niners receiving corps that have been anonymous outside of stud tight end George Kittle. However, Sanders should be downgraded fantasy-wise as he enters a run-heavy offense while competing for looks against Kittle, a versatile backfield and an amalgam of wideouts. Hell be a risky WR3 in Week 8 against a tough Carolina Panthers pass defense. Other losers in the deal are receivers Dante Pettis, Deebo Samuel (groin) and Marquise Goodwin who all continue to slide outside of fantasy relevance.
New England Patriots wide receiver Mohamed Sanu will make his Patriots debut in Week 8 against a Browns Defense that is allowing the 14th fewest fantasy points to receivers. Sanu was acquired via trade from the Falcons and immediately brings size and physicality to a banged up wide receiving group in New England. Sanu caught 66 passes last season for 838 yards and four touchdowns but has been held to only 313 yards with one touchdown this season. Sanu is an excellent addition as a player that can bring the kind of size in the red zone that the Patriots have been lacking due to a banged up Josh Gordon and Rob Gronkowski's retirement in the preseason. Sanu should be thrown right into the mix against a Browns defense that has allowed 10-plus fantasy points to eight different receivers this season. He may lack the amount of targets, however, to garner anything higher than a WR4 play in Week 8.