Steelers WR Antonio Brown's calf injury takes turn for the worse

Catch or not? NFL clarifies why Steelers' touchdown call was reversed

Catch or not? NFL clarifies why Steelers' touchdown call was reversed

Bad news for the Pittsburgh Steelers in their huge matchup with the New England Patriots: star receiver Antonio Brown suffered a leg injury in the first half and left the game.

Roethlisberger hit Darrius Heyward-Bey for a short gain but stayed in bounds. Should Brown's injury be long-term, or even several weeks, the Steelers' season outlook changes dramatically.

Spirits were buoyed by the appearance of injured linebacker Ryan Shazier at the game.

In between and all around that, the Steelers squandered a fourth-quarter lead and lost the most significant game of the National Football League season so far.

Brown had two catches for 24 yards before his exit.

Catch or not? NFL clarifies why Steelers' touchdown call was reversed
Steelers WR Antonio Brown's calf injury takes turn for the worse

Gronkowski was enormous, as he was Brady's go-to guy on the final touchdown drive - which began at the New England 23-yard line with 2:06 remaining. The 25-year-old is recovering from spinal stabilization surgery on December 6, two days after leaving a Monday night victory over Cincinnati on a stretcher following a routine hit on Bengals wide receiver Josh Malone. Brady took the Patriots right down the field, connecting with Cooks for a 43-yard gain that set up Rex Burkhead's 1-yard touchdown. He was taken to the hospital and didn't return.

On the first play of the possession, Roethlisberger found JuJu Smith-Schuster on a crossing route, and Smith-Schuster managed to turn the corner and turn what looked like a solid play into an explosive one-when all was said and done, Smith-Schuster had gained 69 yards to put the ball on New England's 10-yard line.

With the win, the Patriots clinched their ninth consecutive AFC East championship, and assumed full control of the AFC's top seed. Bryant, who asked to be traded earlier this season because of his diminished role in the offense as Smith-Schuster emerged, made a terrific one-handed catch.

Roethlisberger opted to go for the wind instead, a decision now that could have ramifications in January.

Pittsburgh: Visits Houston on Christmas Day.

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