The Steelers walked into Gillette Stadium on Sunday night with their heads held high. Their confidence solid. And with a renewed sense of teamwork following an offseason turmoil-free, Antonio Brown-free unity.
None of it mattered. The Patriots raised their sixth Super Bowl banner before this game, then set about dismantling the Steelers, 33-3, here before a rabid crowd whipped into an even bigger frenzy over the news the local team had agreed to terms with the aforementioned Brown.
That will be announced sometime today. In the meantime, the Patriots will bask in the glory of this latest victory over the Steelers in Foxborough -- the sixth with Tom Brady at the helm in the regular season -- while the Steelers will spend the week wondering what in the wide, wide world of sports just happened.
"We got our butts whooped today," Cam Heyward said. "There were a lot of mistakes. It falls on us. We had a good plan, but we didn't execute it well. When you do that against a Super Bowl-winning team ..."