This might be the first “Sunday Night Football” in years where more attention will be directed toward what happens off the field than on it.
As the Patriots welcome the Steelers to Foxborough for the 8:20 p.m. ET clash on NBC, eyes will be fixed on the latest addition to the New England roster, wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Long story short , Brown appeared on track to make his season debut Monday for the Raiders before he requested his release from the team. After Oakland granted him his wish, the Patriots scooped him up on a one-year contract worth $15 million . He is ineligible to play in the first week of the season, though he did arrive in New England on Sunday .
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There were already plenty of reasons to tune in to the game besides the latest episode in Brown’s soap opera-esque journey to New England. The Patriots are the reigning Super Bowl champions, but Tom Brady will be without his longtime favorite target, the retired Rob Gronkowski . The Steelers, meanwhile, parted with arguably their top two offensive weapons, Brown and Le’Veon Bell, in the offseason. Bell played for the Jets on Sunday afternoon.
This game still figures to be an early-season preview of a potential playoff matchup. New England’s defense looks like it could be among the best in the league, and Ben Roethlisberger still has running back James Conner and wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster to help guide Pittsburgh in what could be a closely contested AFC North.
Sporting News will have all the scoring updates and highlights you’ll need to follow along with the prime-time clash.
Steelers vs. Patriots: Live score, updates, highlights
Third quarter: Patriots 30, Steelers 3
10:35 p.m.: The Steelers take the touchback and will start the drive from their own 25-yard line.
10:31 p.m.: FIELD GOAL, PATRIOTS. The Steelers finally get to Brady and sack him on the Pittsburgh 17-yard line. Gostkowski makes the 35-yard field goal. Patriots 30, Steelers 3
10:28 p.m.: Brady finds Gordon deep down the field for a 43-yard pass to move up to the Pittsburgh 43-yard line.
10:23 p.m.: Roethlisberger’s pass is incomplete and the Steelers are forced to punt again. Ball is fair caught at the 10-yard line.
10:14 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, PATRIOTS. Dorsett is wide open up the middle and Brady finds him on his way to the end zone for a 58-yard touchdown. Patriots 27, Steelers 3
10:11 p.m.: Boswell sends the kick through the end zone and the Patriots will start from their own 25-yard line.
10:11 p.m.: The Patriots unveiled their latest Super Bowl banner.
10:08 p.m.: FIELD GOAL, STEELERS. Chris Boswell drills the 19-yard field goal and the shutout is broken up with 10:17 left in the third quarter. Patriots 20, Steelers 3
10:05 p.m.: Roethlisberger fumbles the ball, but the Steelers recover it.
10:04 p.m.: Holding by the Patriots and the Steelers will now have the ball 1st-and-goal from the New England 6.
10:01 p.m.: Roethlisberger finds James Washington for a big 45-yard gain, the biggest play of the game for Pittsburgh. The Steelers threatening to get on the board for the first time.
9:58 p.m.: The second half is underway with the Steelers starting their drive off from the 25-yard line.
Second quarter: Patriots 20, Steelers 0
9:44 p.m.: We’ve reached the halfway point in New England. Patriots lead 20-0.
9:42 p.m.: FIELD GOAL, PATRIOTS. Gostkowski makes the 41-yard field goal look easy and New England leads by 20 with 17 seconds left. Patriots 20, Steelers 0.
9:37 p.m.: The Steelers can’t convert on fourth down and Brady will get the football with 1:57 left at the New England 47.
9:33 p.m.: Time for the two-minute warning in Foxborough.
9:28 p.m.: Gostkowski’s kick flies into the end zone and Pittsburgh will take the touchback. Steelers starting at their own 25 with 3:49 left in the half.
9:27 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, PATRIOTS. Brady finds Phillip Dorsett in the end zone for a 25-yard completion to extend the Patriots’ lead. Patriots 17, Steelers 0.
9:21 p.m.: Jamie Collins tackles James Conner for a loss of 4 and Pittsburgh is forced to punt. Fair catch is called at New England’s 20.
9:15 p.m.: New England has its first three-and-out of the game. Jake Bailey punts to the Pittsburgh 30 where Switzer calls for a fair catch.
9:11 p.m.: Another three-and-out for Pittsburgh. Steelers’ drive is stopped inches short of a first down. Olszewski returns the punt 15 yards to the New England 35.
9:07 p.m.: The Steelers will begin its drive from their 21 after a 17-yard return from Ryan Switzer.
9:04 p.m.: FIELD GOAL, PATRIOTS: Stephen Gostkowski makes the 25-yard kick and the Patriots extend their lead. Patriots 10, Steelers 0.
First quarter: Patriots 7, Steelers 0
8:56 p.m.: Sony Michel rushes 2 yards for the first down and the first quarter comes to an end.
8:53 p.m.: Pittsburgh lost 1 yard total and went three-and-out. Forced to punt. Patriots returner Gunner Olszewski returns it 20 yards to the New England 38.
8:47 p.m.: The Steelers start their drive from their 25.
8:42 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, PATRIOTS. Just after the pass to White, Josh Gordon catches a slant pass and races 20 yards into the end zone for the first touchdown of the game. The Patriots lead with 4:46 left in the quarter. Patriots 7, Steelers 0.
8:42 p.m.: The longest pass of the game belongs to a wide receiver. Edelman with the 32-yard screen pass to James White.
8:39 p.m.: Offensive pass interference pushes the Patriots back 10 yards. Now first-and-20 from the 25.
8:35 p.m.: The Steelers move 27 yards but are eventually forced to punt. The Patriots will start on their 18.
8:27 p.m.: Brady’s throw is just short of Edelman and the Patriots’ first drive of the game stalls. The punt from Jake Bailey pins Pittsburgh on its 12.
8:24 p.m.: And this game is underway. The Patriots will start from their own 20.
8:16 p.m.: Patriots owner Robert Kraft walks out onto the field with the Lombardi Trophy.
8:07 p.m.: Getting closer to the start of this one. Just 13 minutes until kickoff.
7:42 p.m.: Tom Brady is in Gillette Stadium seven months after leading the Patriots to their sixth Super Bowl win
7:30 p.m.: Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy will not play Sunday. He is a late inactive with his wife going into labor