Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Steelers Top Pats for 8th Win in Row

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Steelers Top Pats for 8th Win in Row

Article excerpt

The Pittsburgh Steelers' defense woke up the echoes of the 1970s, and Kordell Stewart again was a throwback to the 1940s. No wonder there's Super Bowl talk again in Pittsburgh.

The leading defense in the National Football League scored twice and Neil O'Donnell threw a 62-yard touchdown pass to Ernie Mills with 1 minute 28 seconds remaining in the game to break a tie as the Steelers rallied to beat visiting New England 41-27 Saturday.

The Steelers blew a 12-point lead, but scored two touchdowns in the final 1:30 of each half, extending an NFL-leading eight-game winning streak. It is their longest since a nine-game streak in 1978-79.

"Big plays made this game, and this team is thinking big things," linebacker Kevin Greene said. "We made some mistakes, but this team has the will to win and we managed to keep putting out the fires."

O'Donnell threw two touchdown passes, Stewart had his first NFL rushing touchdown - on a drive started by his two pass completions - and Brentson Buckner and Chris Oldham scored defensive touchdowns. The AFC Central champion Steelers (11-4) are assured of a first-round bye and at least one home playoff game.

"I wasn't panicking on that last drive," said O'Donnell, who was 14 of 25 for 195 yards. "I just thought, `Give me the ball and let's go get at least a field goal.' Then, boom, Ernie made the big play."

Oldham finished off the Patriots, scooping up fumble by Coates to score an insurance touchdown with 1:09 to play, only 19 seconds after Mills' score.

Patriots coach Bill Parcells blamed reserve defensive back Carlos Yancy for the blown coverage on Mills. Yancy also was beaten in one-on-one coverage on Yancey Thigpen's 14-yard touchdown catch late in the second quarter.

"There was no miscommunication. He just got beat," Parcells said. "We had 38 guys playing their rear ends off and about seven I wish I'd left at home. They made a couple of plays and we didn't, and that's about all the difference there was between the two teams."

One of those plays came from Stewart, the quarterback/wide receiver. Stewart, a throwback to the one-platoon days when players were asked to run, pass and kick, came in with Pittsburgh leading 17-12 in the third quarter after the first of Drew Bledsoe's two 6-yard touchdown passes to Ben Coates. …

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