The low-scoring Patriots finally found some offense on Thursday, snapping a five-game losing streak with a 21-18 victory over the Steelers at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh.
The Patriots entered the game with the worst scoring average in the NFL (12.3), but got off to a fast start with three touchdowns in the first half, all on passes by quarterback Bailey Zappe.
The Patriots had not won since Oct. 22, when they defeated the Bills at Gillette Stadium. They dropped their next five and did not score more than 17 points in any of the losses. On Sunday, they were shut out by the Chargers, 6-0.
The Patriots (3-10) held off a Steelers rally in the fourth quarter. Pittsburgh, which pulled within three points on a touchdown run by quarterback Mitch Trubisky and a two-point conversion in the fourth quarter, fell to 7-6.
Zappe completed 19 of 28 passes for 240 yards and three touchdowns. Ezekiel Elliot carried 22 times for 68 yards and also caught seven passes for 72 yards and a touchdown.
Zappe was asked what worked well for him.
“Just giving it to my playmakers like this guy,” said Zappe as he pointed to tight end Hunter Henry, who had touchdown receptions of 8 and 24 yards for the Patriots and finished with three receptions for 40 yards.
“We were desperate to score some touchdowns ... so I was able to come up big tonight,” Henry said. “I couldn’t have done it without the other guys blocking, the other guys running routes, and Zappe was slinging it around.”
Former Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster had four receptions for 90 yards.
“Like coach [Bill] Belichick always says, we can’t make yards unless we try and get rid of the ball,” Zappe said. “So just give it to these guys, let them go make plays, and that was kind of the whole mindset.”
The Patriots took a 7-0 lead on their first possession. Ellliott caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Zappe and scored the first Patriots touchdown since the third quarter of their Nov. 26 loss to the New York Giants.
The score capped a 10-play, 75-yard drive highlighted by a 37-yard reception by Smith-Schuster and an 11-yard run by Zappe on third-and-9 from the Pittsburgh 25.
The Steelers also scored on their opening drive, but a third-down sack of Trubisky by Mack Wilson limited Pittsburgh to a 56-yard Chris Boswell field goal.
The Patriots took a 14-3 lead early in the second quarter after Jabrill Peppers intercepted a Trubisky pass and returned it 32 yards to the Pittsburgh 11. Zappe then connected with Henry on an 8-yard touchdown pass to give New England a two-score lead.
Another Zappe to Henry connection, this time for 24 yards, put New England up, 21-3, with 7:38 left in the second quarter.
The Steelers cut it to 21-10 with 2:50 left in the first half on a 25-yard strike from Trubisky to Diontae Johnson.
Neither team scored in the third quarter.
“It feels good. It’s been a grind, but winning always feels good,” Henry said.
The Patriots are off until Dec. 17 when they face the Chiefs at Gillette Stadium in a game originally scheduled for Monday Night Football on Dec. 18.
Read more about the Patriots’ win over the Steelers
- Bailey Zappe’s winning effort begs the question: What took so long to change quarterbacks?
- Ezekiel Elliott, JuJu Smith-Schuster empower Patriots offense in win
- Bill Belichick is clearly trying to win, so what if he is still coach of the Patriots next season?
- Patriots catch big break in fourth quarter with controversial false-start call on Steelers
- Bailey Zappe’s confidence, aggression shines during impressive first half in Patriots’ win vs. Steelers
Patriots 21, Steelers 18: How it happened
Instant analysis: What took Patriots so long to go to Zappe? — 12:05 a.m.
It’s unlikely that the Patriots, now 3-10, would be appreciably better this year if Bailey Zappe had started more games. And we can’t forget Zappe’s performance Sunday, when the Patriots were shut out by the Chargers and didn’t even reach the red zone (though the horrendous weather was a valid excuse).
But Zappe’s performance Thursday night does beg the question: What took Bill Belichick so long to start Zappe over Mac Jones?
It has been clear for several weeks that Jones is mentally broken. His confidence is shot, as is his teammates’ confidence in him.
There was a 38-3 loss to the Cowboys, a 34-0 shutout by the Saints, and bad losses to the Raiders, Commanders, Colts, and Giants. Jones’s mechanics and footwork melted down, he couldn’t stop throwing crippling interceptions, and the Patriots devolved into the worst offense in the NFL.
Zappe explains what worked — 11:52 p.m.
In a postgame television interview, Zappe was asked what was working for the Patriots in this game:
”Just giving it to my playmakers like [Hunter Henry]. Just doing the best I can to get the ball to them. Like Coach Belichick always says, we can’t make yards unless we try and get rid of the ball. So just give it to these guys, let them go make plays, and that was kind of the whole mind-set,” he said.
Patriots defense holds — 11:00 p.m.
The Steelers punt again, but not without some controversy. On fourth down, Jahlani Tavai appeared to jump offsides for the Patriots, which would have rewarded Pittsburgh with a first down. Instead, officials flagged Steelers long snapper Christian Kuntz for raising his head too quickly, prompting a false start.
The home crowd and team were irate, and New England gets the ball.
• Tavai reacted like he was offsides. Got away with one. – Finn
What happened to the offense? — 10:49 p.m.
New England’s offense has taken a nosedive in the second half. Baringer punts for the seventh time after the Patriots fail to cross midfield. New England has not scored in the second half.
• Feel like the Patriots defense will make a play to hold this lead. Call it the Trubisky Factor. – Finn
Steelers pull within a field goal — 10:42 p.m.
This time the Steelers capitalize on good field position, with Mitch Trubisky leaping in for a touchdown from 1 yard out. Pittsburgh trimmed the deficit to a field goal after Trubisky found an open Pat Freiermuth for the two-point conversion.
Patriots run into some trouble — 10:35 p.m.
The Patriots opened the fourth quarter with a huge red-zone stop on fourth-and-2. New England covered the pass play well and Trubisky threw a shovel pass to Jaylen Warren, who couldn’t get to the first down marker before Ja’Whaun Bentley led a group of Patriots to bring him down.
The Patriots couldn’t respond deep in their own territory, though. Pittsburgh blocked Bryce Baringer’s sixth punt of the night, setting up the Steelers in great position again at the New England 26-yard line.
Third-quarter analysis — 10:29 p.m.
Three quarters are in the books here at Acrisure Stadium, and the Patriots hold a 21-10 lead.
• The Steelers started the second half with an eye toward building momentum, but couldn’t push it into the end zone on their first two drives. After the Steelers came away with an interception on a tipped pass, they set up shop at the Patriots’ 16-yard line. (Thanks in part to what might be a touchdown-saving tackle by Zeke Elliott on the play.) Pittsburgh has the ball at the New England 8, and it’s fourth-and-3.
• The New England defense has played really well over the last month, obviously. But the last time I can recall them playing with this sort of an edge – to the echo of the whistle, to use a favorite phrase of Logan Mankins – was in the joint practices against the Packers. They bullied Green Bay in those workouts over the summer. For the most part, they’re doing the same tonight.
• Conor McDermott got the call at left tackle ahead of Trent Brown to start the second half. Brown returned to the lineup late in the third quarter.
• A 16-yard screen pass from Zappe to Zeke Elliott midway through the third quarter was a really well-executed play, so it wasn’t a huge surprise to see it end with three New England offensive linemen laying on top of Pittsburgh defensive linemen. As ineffective as the Patriots’ offensive line has been for much of the season, that group played a big role in Zappe only being sacked twice through the first three quarters.
Patriots turn it over — 10:27 p.m.
The Patriots’ first major miscue of the night is a Bailey Zappe interception. Zappe tried to hit Juju Smith-Schuster crossing over the middle, but Steelers linebacker Elandon Roberts knocked the ball into the air, and Mykal Walker caught it, taking it 30 yards before being tackled by Ezekiel Elliott.
A battle of field position — 10:18 p.m.
Pittsburgh used up nearly half the quarter on its first drive out of halftime, but still had to punt. The Patriots didn’t fare any better on their ensuing possession with another punt. Ezekiel Elliott picked up two more receptions for 24 yards.
Nice try — 10:10 p.m.
The Steelers ran 11 plays on that last drive, chewing up more than 7 minutes of clock, and barely made it into New England territory. – Finn
Halftime analysis: Solid showing for Patriots — 9:50 p.m.
Two quarters are done here at Acrisure Stadium, and the Patriots are up, 21-10.
Stats leaders: Bailey Zappe: 14-21, 196 yards, 3 TDs; Ezekiel Elliott: 10 carries, 22 yards; 4 catches, 5 targets, 39 yards, 1 TD; JuJu Smith-Schuster: 3 catches, 4 targets, 82 yards; Hunter Henry: 3 catches, 3 targets, 40 yards, 2 TDs; Mitch Trubisky: 6-11, 61 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
• Simply put, it was the best half of football this season for the Patriots, particularly on offense, where New England came into the night without Rhamondre Stevenson or Demario Douglas. The Patriots moved the ball with explosive plays, and also found consistency on the ground. There was also a takeaway and sacks on defense, and some quality special teams work when it came to tilting the field in New England’s favor. There’s been so little complementary football from this team over the last month, it was a bit of a revelation.
• Smith-Schuster is having himself a night — he already has a season-high 82 yards receiving against his old team. An excellent night for a guy who has struggled through a large part of the year.
• After scoring on their opening drive — thanks to a 37-yard pass play to Smith-Schuster and an 11-yard touchdown pass to Elliott — the Patriots pushed their lead out to 14-3 early in the second quarter. Jabrill Peppers picked off Trubisky, and two plays later, Zappe found Henry in the back of the end zone for the score. The already unruly Pittsburgh crowd — which had been chanting for Steelers’ third-string quarterback Mason Rudolph at that point — because even more upset.
• The 37-yard pass play to Smith-Schuster was the third-longest play of the season for the New England offense, trailing only a 51-yarder to Pharaoh Brown (against the Jets) and a 42-yarder to Douglas (against the Cowboys). According to ESPN Stats & Information, it’s the first successful pass play of the season for the Patriots where the ball traveled 30-plus yards in the air.
• New England added its third touchdown of the half on a 24-yard pass play from Zappe to Henry midway through the second quarter. It was an impressive throw from Zappe — one of his best of the year — as he split a pair of defensive backs near the sideline for the score.
• To be fair, the Steelers were a bit of a mess on offense. (Not to mention their defense lost Alex Highsmith with a neck injury and T.J. Watt was clearly dealing with something much of the first two quarters.) Trubisky looked unsteady in the pocket, and his skill position guys did him no favors. There was one big drive for the Pittsburgh offense that came late in the second quarter, a 25-yard pass play from Trubisky to Diontae Johnson (at the expense of J.C. Jackson) that made it 21-10 with 2:50 left in the half.
• Conor McDermott started at left tackle, but was relieved in the second quarter by Trent Brown.
• The Patriots have taken multiple pass interference calls, including two on defense (Jackson and Kyle Dugger) and one on offense (Henry). There was also a foolish unnecessary roughness penalty on Brenden Schooler (his fourth penalty of the year) that set New England back after a kick return late in the second quarter.
• Other than a few punts from Bryce Baringer that traveled halfway to Bloomsburg and Schooler’s foolish unnecessary roughness penalty, there wasn’t much notable special teams action from the Patriots.
• The Steelers will get the ball to start the second half.
Nothing doing — 9:44 p.m.
The Patriots tried to mount a last scoring drive before halftime, but didn’t get very far, and ultimately ended up winding down the clock before punting with 29 seconds remaining.
Bailey Zappe connected with six different receivers in the first half. Ezekiel Elliott was the only Patriot to register a rushing attempt aside from an 11-yard Zappe scramble.
Steelers find the end zone — 9:28 p.m.
Patriots 21, Steelers 10 | 2:50 second quarter
The Steelers finally gave the home crowd something to cheer about. Trubisky placed a nice off-balance throw over the shoulders of Diontae Johnson for a 25-yard touchdown to move Pittsburgh back within two possessions of the Patriots.
Zappe to Henry for a TD — 9:22 p.m.
Patriots 21, Steelers 3 | 7:38 second quarter
Bailey Zappe throws a perfect deep pass to Hunter Henry right at the goal line for the Patriots’ third touchdown. The second-year quarterback is on fire, having completed 11 of 17 pass attempts. His 168 passing yards are already a season-high, and we’re not even at halftime.
• Zappe’s second touchdown pass to Henry might have been the best throw by a Patriots quarterback all season, at least among passes that were actually caught. – Finn
Elliott heavily involved in Patriots’ game plan — 9:12 p.m.
The Steelers and Patriots trade punts. Ezekiel Elliott has been heavily involved to start this game. He has just nine rushing yards on six attempts, but also 39 receiving yards and a touchdown on four catches.
Another touchdown for Patriots — 9:04 p.m.
Patriots 14, Steelers 3 | 14:14 2nd quarter
Don’t look now, but that’s another Patriots touchdown.
Bailey Zappe delivers a well-placed ball over the middle to Hunter Henry, who caught it in the back of the end zone and got both feet down for the score. New England, in comparison to Pittsburgh, is humming.
Patriots get an early takeaway — 8:59 p.m.
The Patriots get a big turnover on the first play of the second quarter. Mitch Trubisky faced heavy pressure from New England’s pass rush and threw a softball into traffic. Jabrill Peppers pounced on it and took it 32 yards, putting the Patriots on Pittsburgh’s 11-yard line.
• Trubisky never having thrown a pick-six has to be one of the most shocking statistics in modern sports. – Finn
• The crowd here at Acrisure Stadium is chanting “MASON RUDOLPH!” With the Steelers down, 7-3, fans are already calling for Mitch Trubisky to be replaced. – McInerney
First-quarter analysis — 8:54 p.m.
One quarter is in the books here at Acrisure Stadium, and the Patriots are up, 7-3.
• Bailey Zappe found JuJu Smith-Schuster for the big gain on the first offensive drive, a 37-yard pickup. Zappe also picked up 11 yards on a scramble when things broke down, while Zeke Elliott chipped in with 27 yards from scrimmage, including the 11-yard touchdown pass from Zappe. All in all, one of the best drives of the season for the New England offense.
• The 37-yard pass play to Smith-Schuster was the third-longest play of the season for the New England offense, trailing only a 51-yarder to Pharaoh Brown (against the Jets) and a 42-yarder to Pop Douglas (against the Cowboys). According to ESPN Stats & Information, it’s the first successful pass play of the season for the Patriots where the ball traveled 30-plus yards in the air.
• This marks the first time the Patriots have led at the end of a quarter since halftime of the Washington game on Nov. 5. In that one, New England was up 14-10 at the half.
• Conor McDermott got the start at left tackle for the Patriots ahead of Trent Brown, who has been dealing with a variety of injuries over the last month or so.
• J.C. Jackson was flagged for a defensive pass interference call on the Steelers’ first drive which wiped out a would-be pick for Mr. INT. And Hunter Henry was hit with an offensive pass interference on a pass play midway through the quarter that wiped out a sizable gain for New England.
Patriots moving the ball, but not enough — 8:50 p.m.
We’re already seeing several Patriots depth pieces get involved. Tyquan Thornton logged his first catch of the game and Smith-Schuster added a second grab. But the pass-heavy possession sputtered quickly, bringing Bryce Baringer out for his second punt.
• Zappe had Hunter Henry open underneath on his 3rd-and-10 incompletion to a covered Smith-Schuster. He’s played with some confidence tonight, but seeing the field is not his strong suit. – Finn
Patriots go three-and-out — 8:42 p.m.
Hunter Henry caught a 14-yard pass from Zappe on the Patriots’ second drive, but pushed off his defender to do so, resulting in a pass interference call. The Patriots otherwise didn’t get much going in the three-and-out possession.
Steelers on the board — 8:33 p.m.
Patriots 7, Steelers 3 | 6:39 1st quarter
The Steelers get on the board with a 56-yard field goal from Chris Boswell, though the Patriots had some strong defensive moments.
JC Jackson had an interception called off because of his own pass interference. Anfernee Jennings had an impressive tackle on Steelers running back Jaylen Warren for a loss, and Mack Wilson sacked Mitch Trubisky on third down to force the field goal.
Elliott puts Patriots on top — 8:22 p.m.
Patriots 7, Steelers 0 | 11:18 1st quarter
That was the most productive drive we’ve seen from the Patriots in a while. Juju Smith-Schuster made a remarkable catch on a 37-yard throw from Bailey Zappe to spark the possession. Zappe found Ezekiel Elliott soon after for an 11-yard touchdown. Zappe completed three of four pass attempts for 60 yards on that drive, and the Patriots lead early.
• Is that ... what an impressive drive looks like? – Finn
• Smith-Schuster has had one game this season with more receiving yardage than he had on that 37-yard reception (51 yards against the Commanders). – Finn
Chris Price’s players to watch and prediction — 8:10 p.m.
Patriots player to watch: Zeke Elliott. With Rhamondre Stevenson sidelined and no real depth at the running back position, he’s going to have to carry the load for the Patriots tonight.
Steelers player to watch: TJ Watt. Bill Belichick went deep on Watt Wednesday, spending an extended stretch praising the pass rusher. If he’s able to get cranked up Thursday night, it could be a long night for New England’s offensive line.
Prediction: Pittsburgh 10-7. First team to double digits wins. The only way New England wins is if it can get some special teams magic, or a defensive touchdown.
Chad Finn’s players to watch and prediction — 8:00 p.m.
Patriots player to watch: Mike Gesicki. In retrospect, Mike McDaniels’s lack of interest in keeping him with the Dolphins should have been a sign that he wasn’t going to form a potent two-tight end duo with Hunter Henry in New England. But … what if we don’t think of him as a tight end? Belichick often speaks of him as a member of the receiver group, and with DaVante Parker joining pretty much every semi-useful Patriots receiver on the sidelines tonight, there could be a chance for Gesicki to make a play or two. Hey, he did have the winning touchdown against Buffalo (yes, that was this season), and would have been the hero against the Colts had Mac Jones’s brain and arm not simultaneously malfunctioned.
Steelers player to watch: T.J. Watt. I’m not sure there’s been an easier choice all season. The one redeeming quality from Bailey Zappe’s performance in the shutout loss to the Chargers was his protection of the football – he didn’t commit a turnover. Watt doesn’t just sack the quarterback, he forces mistakes – he has forced three fumbles this season and 28 in his career. He will have a significant impact on this game.
Prediction: Steelers 13, Patriots 7. The Patriots defense, worthy of much respect, scores the touchdown that the offense cannot. As for the remaining points, the Steelers trust their kicker, Chris Boswell. The Patriots appear to have lost all faith in theirs, Chad Ryland, and for good reason.
Pregame observations — 7:55 p.m.
• The Steelers won the coin toss and elected to defer, giving the Patriots the ball to start.
• Patriots OL in warmups: LT Conor McDermott, LG Cole Strange, C David Andrews, RG Sidy Sow, RT Mike Onwenu
Tonight’s weather forecast — 7:40 p.m.
It’ll be a chilly December night in Pittsburgh, with temperatures in the mid 40s expected around kickoff, and it could dip into the high 30s as the game rolls on, but no inclement weather is expected.
Betting lines — 7:35 p.m.
The Patriots are clear road underdogs in primetime, as the Steelers — despite having to roll out backup quarterback Mitch Trubisky in place of the injured Kenny Pickett — are set as 5.5-point favorites at Acrisure Stadium.
The oddsmakers are as low as can be on the offensive potential for Thursday’s game, with the total set at over/under 30 points, the lowest for a game since 1993.
Tale of the tape — 7:25 p.m.
The underlying stats for this 7-5 Steelers team are strange: Pittsburgh has been outgained, on average, by more than 50 yards per game, but still enters Thursday in the playoff hunt.
The Patriots, meanwhile, have only been outgained by about 20 yards per game, and are sitting in the NFL basement at 2-10.
Maybe it’s luck, maybe it’s execution, but these teams seem much more similar than their disparate records would suggest.
Here are a few key stats heading into the matchup.
Points per game: Patriots 12.3 (32nd); Steelers 16.0 (29th)
Points allowed: Patriots 21.2 (15th), Steelers 19.1 (6th)
Total offense: Patriots 290.4 (28th), Steelers 294.9 (26th)
Total defense: Patriots 310.5 (8th), Steelers 348.3 (21st)
Turnovers: Patriots 20 (T-24th), Steelers 10 (3rd)
Takeaways: Patriots 11 (29th), Steelers 20 (T-5th)
Nicole Yang’s players to watch and prediction — 7:12 p.m.
Patriots player to watch: Malik Cunningham. The Patriots have once again elevated Cunningham from the practice squad to the game-day roster. They did so last week, but Cunningham did not play. If Cunningham does not play again today, the decision to temporarily elevate him will be a curious one because a practice-squad player can be on the active roster for only three games before he must sign an NFL contract. Perhaps the plan of plays for him is limited to the red zone, which the Patriots did not reach Sunday vs. the Chargers.
Steelers player to watch: George Pickens. The Patriots drafted Tyquan Thornton with the 50th overall pick in 2022, while the Steelers drafted Pickens 52nd overall. If Pickens outperforms Thornton, the difference between the two will underscore another questionable pick by Bill Belichick.
Prediction: Steelers 13, Patriots 3. Until the Patriots actually show some consistency on offense, it seems misguided to pick them to win.
Patriots inactives include DeVante Parker — 7:00 p.m.
Updated at 7:47 p.m. with new information about DeVante Parker.
The following players were announced as inactive for the Patriots: wide receiver DeVante Parker, cornerback Shaun Wade, running back Rhamondre Stevenson, running back JaMycal Hasty, offensive tackle Vederian Lowe, wide receiver Kayshon Boutte, and wide receiver Demario Douglas.
Parker, who was in the injury report early in the week with a knee issue, has displayed a nice connection with quarterback Bailey Zappe over the last year-plus. He finished with a season-high 64 yards in last Sunday’s loss to the Chargers. Parker praised Zappe earlier this season, saying he had “more zip” on the ball than Mac Jones, and that the Western Kentucky product was able to do a better job with ball placement than Jones.
In 22 regular-season games with the Patriots, Parker has 53 catches for 803 yards and three touchdowns.
When you add in the fact that Boutte (shoulder) and Douglas (concussion) are also inactive, it’ll mean more work for the likes of Tyquan Thornton. (It’ll be the second straight miss for Boutte and Douglas.)
Lowe and Hasty finish the list of healthy scratches. Stevenson was downgraded earlier in the week with an ankle injury he sustained against the Chargers, one that figures to leave him on the shelf for an extended stretch. That could mean more work for youngster David Harris, who was elevated from the practice squad earlier Thursday and figures to work as Ezekiel Elliott’s backup.
As for Wade, he’s been on the injury report all week with an illness, which should test the Patriots’ cornerback depth. — Price
Last time they played — 6:50 p.m.
It wasn’t exactly a shootout the last time the Patriots played the Steelers either. New England beat Pittsburgh, 17-14, to move to 1-1 at the start last season behind 110 yards and a touchdown from Nelson Agholor. Mac Jones threw for 252 yards with one touchdown and one interception that day, and Mitch Trubisky — who had yet to be replaced by a rookie Kenny Pickett — threw for 168 yards plus a score and a pick of his own. The Patriots defense held the Steelers to just 243 yards of total offense. — Touri
Bill Belichick to be guest picker on ESPN’s ‘College GameDay’ — 6:40 p.m.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick will be the guest picker when ESPN’s “College GameDay” makes it way to Foxborough this Saturday for the Army-Navy game at Gillette Stadium.
He’ll join Rece Davis, Desmond Howard, Pat McAfee, Kirk Herbstreit, and Lee Corso on the weekly show to select who they think will win major college football games that day. Army-Navy is the only FBS game on Saturday, so Belichick’s pick load will be light.
The 24th-year head coach grew up in Annapolis, Md., where the Naval Academy is located. He was four years old when his father, Steve, started as a scout for Navy’s football team, and the elder Belichick spent 33 years on Navy’s staff.
Other guest pickers this year have included Darius Rucker, Joe Namath, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Baker Mayfield, C.J. Stroud, and Aidan Hutchinson.
The Army-Navy game will kick off from Gillette Stadium Saturday at 3 p.m., the first time the game has been played in New England. — Emma Healy
Avert your eyes — 6:30 p.m.
It’s not the prettiest quarterback situation for either team, but it looks like Thursday’s game will see Bailey Zappe square off against Mitch Trubisky, a far cry from the Tom Brady vs. Ben Roethlisberger faceoffs that defined this matchup for well over a decade.
The Patriots once again did not confirm their starting quarterback throughout the week, but indications from Zappe on Tuesday were that he will be getting the nod again after his first start of the season in Sunday’s 6-0 loss to the Chargers.
The Steelers have little choice but to turn to Trubisky with second-year starter Kenny Pickett out indefinitely following ankle surgery. — Touri
Patriots elevate Malik Cunningham — 6:15 p.m.
The Patriots elevated Malik Cunningham and running back Kevin Harris from the practice squad in advance of Thursday’s game.
Thursday marks the second time this year Cunningham has been elevated from the practice squad in advance of a game — he was on the active roster for last weekend’s game against the Chargers. The 6-foot-1, 198-pounder was already on the active roster for the October loss against the Raiders.
It’s the first time Harris has been elevated, and likely the result of the fact that veteran Rhamondre Stevenson was downgraded to out earlier in the week because of an ankle injury he sustained last week against the Chargers. — Price
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