Tom Brady and the Patriots started from their 29 as they looked to answer. New England was on their way to a touchdown of their own, as Brady hit on his first 6 passes marching inside the Steelers 20. However, Brady was hit around the ankles on his seventh attempt and a wobbly pass found it's way into the hands of Ryan Shazier. Pittsburgh took over from their 15.
Big Ben hooked up with his speedy receivers Eli Rogers and Sammie Coates for big gains of 22 and 23 yards respectively, before finding his main man Antonio Brown in the end zone for a 3 yard score. The Steelers took a commanding 14-0 lead with just 21 seconds left in the opening quarter.
Needing a score, Brady wasted no time getting the Patriots on the board. On the 6th play of the drive, Brady hit Julian Edelman over the middle and Edelman ran 42 yards with it to cut the Steelers lead in half, 14-7.
That score gave the Patriots defense a boost of energy, as Dont'a Hightower would intercept a pass thrown by Roethlisberger. Brady took over from their own 35.
A Stephen Gostkowski field goal made it 14-10 with under 4 minutes to play in the first half. The field goal was set up by a James White 38 yard reception.
New England's defense came up big again forcing a three and out but the half would come to an end without either team adding anymore points.
Starting the second half down 14-10, the Patriots used a good rushing attack to march right into Steelers territory. Once again, it's Julian Edelman making a huge play, this time putting a move on William Gay and finding the end zone. His 2nd touchdown of the game went 40 yards and gave the Patriots a 17-14 lead.
Unlike the first half, both teams used lengthy drives and chewed up a lot of clock. Pittsburgh would tie the game on a Chris Boswell 34 yard field goal, on a 13 play drive.
With under a minute to play in the third quarter, the Patriots would regain the lead on a 41 yard field goal by Gostkowski.
That lead would be short lived, as the Steelers used another long drive to give us our 5th lead change in the game. Big Ben connected with Antonio Brown 4 times on the drive, converting on third downs twice. Bell would score his second touchdown of the game on a 4 yard run. Boswell missed the extra point and the Steelers lead was just 3, 23-20, with 5:57 left in the game.
Brady lead the Patriots right down the field, completing 7-8 on the drive. The big play was a 26 yarder to Michael Floyd. Then, on third and 7, Brady connected with Chris Hogan in the end zone from 16 yards out.
Down 27-23 the Steelers converted a 3rd and 1, at the two minute warning, on their own 35. Again facing third and inches, Bell picked up the first down on a 15 yards run. This moved the ball to the Patriots 40 with 1:06 left to play and two timeouts remaining.
The game came down to a 4th and 12 with 36 seconds left. Big Ben targeted Brown on a crossing route, but the pass was picked off by Patrick Chung.
Brady would take a knee to end the game, giving the Patriots a 27-23 victory, and sending New England back to the Super Bowl.
NFC Championship - Packers @ Falcons
27/34, 371 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception
9 carries, 44 yards, 3 catches, 30 yards
5 carries, 15 yards
7 catches, 123 yards, 2 touchdowns
7 catches, 62 yards, 1 touchdown
4 catches, 38 yards
3 catches, 62 yards
29/38, 291 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions
23 carries, 102 yards, 2 touchdowns, 9 receptions, 71 yards
11 catches, 116 yards, 1 touchdown
6 catches, 80 yards