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Patriots 17, Steelers 14

‘I just dropped it:’ Against his former team, Steelers’ Gunner Olszewski’s error swung the game in the Patriots’ favor

Patriots safety Brenden Schooler (left) fell on the ball after Steelers special teamer Gunner Olszewski struggled to field a punt in the second half.Phil Pavely/Associated Press

Earlier this week, Steelers return specialist Gunner Olszewski said he wanted to “show out” while playing his former team, the Patriots.

Instead, he ended up making a pivotal mistake that swung momentum of the game in New England’s favor.

The Patriots were clinging to a 10-6 lead late in the third quarter when a punt bounced off of Olszewski’s hands, allowing Patriots special teamer Brenden Schooler to fall on it and set New England’s offense up at the 20-yard line.

“I just dropped it,” Olszewski said. “That’s on me. Game that tight, you can’t have mistakes like that.”

Damien Harris punched in New England’s second and final touchdown of the game, helping the Patriots prevail with a 17-14 road win.

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“We had our moments,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “We won some possession downs on offense, we won some possession downs on defense. But, again, that seven points in a two-minute circumstance and their ability to put seven points on the board after we didn’t handle the punt were the significant components of the game.”

Olszewski played three seasons with the Patriots before signing with the Steelers in March. He was selected first-team All-Pro in 2020 after posting 38 returns for 764 yards and a touchdown. Olszewski began his NFL career in New England after signing as an undrafted free agent in 2019.

Before the NFL, Olszewski was a standout at NCAA Division II Bemidji State in Minnesota. He was named NSIC defensive player of the year in 2018.

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