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Patriots once again dominate Steelers at Gillette, 33-3

AP photo New England Patriots receiver Phillip Dorsett snares a TD pass beyond the coverage of Pittsburgh's Mike Hilton during Sunday night's season opener at Gillette Stadium.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots certainly didn’t need Antonio Brown to beat his former team on Sunday night.

No, they did just fine while waiting for the former Steeler and Raider to sign his contract today, as they cruised past Pittsburgh in the season opener at Gillette Stadium, 33-3.

Same old, same old, right? The Steelers have never beaten Patriots quarterback Tom Brady here, and Pats receiver Phillip Dorsett staked his claim to wanting to keep his minutes as he had four catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady could pretty much do what he wanted against the Steeler defense, as he completed 24 of 36 for 341 yards and three TDs, with a QB rating of 124.9.

“It’s the first game of the year, we’ve got a lot to learn from,” Brady said. “The big plays really helped us out tonight. … Some guys made some big plays. Some good things to build on.”

The Patriots outgained the Steelers 465-308, basically dominating them from start to finish.

“Give the players credit, they were ready to go,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “We made a lot of plays offensively. There’s still a lot of room for improvement across the board.”

Conversely, Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completed 27 of 47 for 276 yards, no TDs and an interception.

“We just couldn’t convert on third downs (3 of 12), couldn’t get drives (going), couldn’t sustain things,” Roethlisberger said. “That’s partly on us and partly because of them.”

The first Patriots score of the year, a 20-yard pass to a wide open Josh Gordon in the middle of the field with 4:46 left in the first quarter, was set up by a trick play. Julian Edelman hittingJames White for a 32-yard catch-and-run to the Steeler 20.

By halftime, it was 20-0x New England with Stephen Gostkowski adding field goals of 25 and 41 yards and Brady firing a 25-yard TD pass to Phillip Dorsett, whom he didn’t see wide open near the end zone on the first field goal drive.

However, he certainly saw Dorsett for a 58-yard TD down the middle with 8:05 left in the third quarter, giving the Patriots a 27-3 lead. It was Brady’s 520th TD pass of his career, tying him with Drew Brees for second all-time. And Dorsett enjoyed his first multiple TD reception game of his career.

“It was a good game,” Dorsett said. “Offensively I feel we did our job.”

The Steelers could only manage a Chris Boswell 19 yard field goal in the third quarter. Gostkowski added field goals of 35 and 39, a 4 for 4 night.

The Patriots were without linebacker Kyle Van Noy, whose wife is expecting, according to ESPN, and veteran receiver Demaryius Thomas, who has been nursing a sore hamstring.

Also, Patriot offensive lineman Marcus Cannon left the game in the fourth quarter with a shoulder injury and did not return. He was later seen with his left arm in a sling.

For the Patriots, that was about the only negative of the night. And just think, they’ll be even better today.

“We’ve got a lot of players who are talented,” Brady said. “We just have to figure out how to make it all work.”

It seemed to work just fine on Sunday night.

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Patriot inactives last night, besides Thomas and Van Noy, were rookie corner JoeJuan Williams, rookie running back Damien Harris, rookie defensive lineman Bryron Coward, safety Obi Melifonwu, and offensive tackle Korey Cunningham.