Patriots at Steelers - First Quarter Observations

Ian Logue
October 30, 2011 at 04:53pm ET

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Some observations from the first quarter:

Kevin Faulk returned to action on Sunday in Pittsburgh. (FILE:Icon/SMI)

- It was a rough start for New England.  The Steelers started this one with good field position, with the Patriots giving up a 34 yard kickoff return on the opening kickoff which gave them the ball at their own 32 yard line.  From there Pittsburgh got off to a fast start, driving down the field for a touchdown on their opening drive after marching 68 yards on 11 plays to take a 7-0 lead.  On that drive Ben Roethlisberger was 7-of-9 for 66 yards and a touchdown pass to Mewelde Moore.

- While many fans had hoped to see Jerod Mayo take the field against the Steelers he didn't start on Sunday, and the player responsible for calling the plays on the opening series Brandon Spikes.  That role had been previously held buy Gary Guyton.  Mayo was on the field for Pittsburgh's second offensive series, and replaced Guyton.

- The full list of inactives were Shane Vereen, Dane Fletcher, Josh Barrett, Ryan Mallett, Julian Edelman, Jermaine Cunningham, and Donald Thomas.

- With the return of Kevin Faulk, the odd man out on Sunday was Edelman, with Danny Woodhead handling the role as the primary kickoff returner.  The first kickoff by Pittsburgh was kicked out of bounds, giving New England great field position at the 40-yard line.

- Faulk was out on the field for the team's opening series and got the starting nod at runningback.  Faulk was not involved in any of the initial plays, with New England going 3-and-out despite an 8-yard gain on 1st down on a pass to Aaron Hernandez.

- Steelers tight end Heath Miller had a big opening quarter, catching 6 passes for 76 yards to start the game, with New England having a tough time containing him.  They were able to contain speedy receiver Mike Wallace, who so far has just three catches for 28-yards.

- Pittsburgh dominated the entire first quarter in time of possession, holding the ball for 13:36, while New England had the ball for all of 1:24.  The Patriots offense ran just 3 plays, while the Steelers offense had two drives of 11 and 15, with the quarter ending with a sack by Vince Wilfork to force a field goal.