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Steelers Takeaways: Patriots Silence ‘Renegade,’ Run Over Defense in 4th Q (+)

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Steelers

PITTSBURGH — The Patriots left no crumbs on the field when it all hit triple zeroes on the clock. To close out the game, the Patriots ran the ball down the field at will on a Steelers rush defense that was clearly tired and on its last legs. Then, at the two-minute warning, on a 2nd and 13, the Steelers may have some second wave of adrenaline after ‘Renegade’ blared through Acrisure Stadium.

Instead, the Steelers petered out and the Patriots ran it down the field with ease. The offensive line and Damien Harris got fired up as they imposed their will upon the Steelers’ defensive line throughout the final drive. Rookie left guard Cole Strange did not know much about the lore of Renegade until Sunday, but after learning about it, he and the Patriots felt even better about what they did.

“That was kind of badass, I thought,” Strange said. “We really imposed our will.”

Starting left guard Mike Onwenu had many similar feelings. The Patriots were able to consistently get pushed up front, and no matter what, it seems like the Steelers could not stop it. That is something the Patriots took excessive pride in as the game continued along, but especially at the end.

“At the end of the day, we have to do our job,” Onwenu said. “Everybody in the stadium knew we were going to run the ball, so you have to bring your best. We did. And we shut the stadium down.”

Cam Heyward acknowledged the Steelers were going to have to slow things down on the ground game in the future. For now, they can only go back to the drawing board. Even though the defense was certainly not the main problem in the game, that last sequence took the air right out of what was to that point a solid performance without T.J. Watt. Watt will need to heal up, but it remains true that the sooner Watt gets back and fully healthy, the better the Steelers will be.

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