Pittsburgh Steelers drop NFL opener to Patriots, 28-21

Written by Tim Lambert and Radio Pennsylvania | Sep 11, 2015 2:36 AM

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski runs after catching a pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second half. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

(Foxborough, Mass.) -- The NFL season is officially underway.

The Pittsburgh Steelers fell to the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, 28-21.

New England's Tom Brady threw four touchdowns, three to favorite target Rob Gronkowski.

He was 25 of 32 for 288 yards -- one week after a federal judge vacated the NFL's four-game suspension in the deflated footballs scandal.

DeAngelo Williams carried 21 times for 127 yards for Pittsburgh.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completed 26 of his 38 passes for 351 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

"We need to get better. This is a small step in a long journey," he says. "So, we need to stay together and get better and I think we'll do that."

Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin says he felt the game was closer than the final score indicated.

"We've got to finish a few instances better. We've got to be better (and) we will," he said. "They were better than we were tonight."

Tomlin says his coaches were listening to the Patriots radio broadcast on their headsets for the majority of the first half of last night's game.     

He says he let NFL officials at the stadium handle the communications issues, which he says were  "eventually'' taken care of. 

Pittsburgh was without suspended running back Le'Veon Bell, injured center Maurkice Pouncey and suspended receiver Martavis Bryant.

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