Final

Patriots 39

(7-2, 3-2 away)

Steelers 26

(6-3, 2-2 home)

Coverage: NBC

8:20 PM ET, November 14, 2010

Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA 

1 2 3 4 T
NE 10 0 13 1639
PIT 0 3 0 2326

Top Performers

Passing: B. Roethlisberger (PIT) - 387 YDS, 3 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: B. Green-Ellis (NE) - 18 CAR, 87 YDS

Receiving: M. Wallace (PIT) - 8 REC, 136 YDS, 2 TD

Tom Brady masters Steelers as Pats rebound from Browns loss

Associated Press

PITTSBURGH -- Not many teams beat the Steelers. Tom Brady not only beats them, he embarrasses them.

Brady maintained his mastery of the Steelers, throwing three touchdown passes to tight end Rob Gronkowski and scoring once himself, and the Patriots bounced back from a humbling 20-point loss by beating the Steelers 39-26 on Sunday night.

No NFL team wins more on its home field than Pittsburgh, but no opposing player wins there like Brady, who has won six of seven overall against the Steelers and four of five at Heinz Field. He was 30 of 43 for 350 yards with no sacks or interceptions, and now has 14 career TD throws and three interceptions against the Steelers.

"They beat us in all phases," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said.

The Patriots and AFC East-rival Jets are tied for the conference's top record at 7-2.

"We made big plays when we needed to make them," Brady said. "It's an exciting game for us in this locker room. We haven't been this happy in a long time. We're pretty good when we execute the right way."

Pittsburgh (6-3), its normally dominating defense shredded by Brady during its second home-field loss this season, drops back into a first-place tie with Baltimore in the AFC North. The Steelers played most of the game without wide receiver Hines Ward (concussion), whose streak of 186 consecutive games with a reception ended.

"I wanted to go back in, but they wouldn't let me," Ward said.

Brady threw only one incompletion during a 70-yard drive on New England's first possession that ended with his 19-yard TD throw to Gronkowski, a rookie who played his high school senior season in Pittsburgh.

New England started the second half with a near-identical 78-yard drive that Brady finished off with a 9-yard throw to Gronkowski, making it 17-3 and silencing a partisan crowd of 64,359 that rarely sees a rival quarterback being so effective and efficient.

Except Brady, of course.

"You can't get into a hole like that against a team that good and a quarterback that good," Steelers receiver Mike Wallace said.

As good as ever against Pittsburgh, Brady was more emotional than usual -- screaming during huddles, yelling at linemen for penalties -- perhaps reflecting his unhappiness at losing 34-14 the week before at Cleveland.

"That's the NFL," coach Bill Belichick said. "If you knew what was going to happen in this league [from week to week], you'd make a lot of money."

Brady, who has averaged 373 yards in his last three starts against Pittsburgh, found Gronkowski for a third time on a 25-yarder that upped it to 36-18 and emptied out whatever fans hadn't already left.

"I don't think they did anything to confuse us, that we didn't expect," Ben Roethlisberger said. "They flat out beat us."

Brady methodically led drive after drive by throwing underneath Pittsburgh's two-deep zone defense. The quick throws -- welcome back, Wes Welker -- confused the Steelers' defense and negated Pittsburgh's oft-successful blitzing schemes.

Welker, whose production has been nearly cut in half since last season and reduced even more since Randy Moss' departure, made eight catches for 89 yards. Gronkowski had five for 72 yards. BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran for 87 yards, the most against Pittsburgh's defense this season.

James Sanders effectively ended it with a 32-yard touchdown return of an interception with 8½ minutes remaining on a throw by Roethlisberger that was tipped by Patrick Chung -- though there were three more touchdowns, two by Pittsburgh.

When it comes to winning, the Patriots and Steelers are the pinnacles of the NFL. The Patriots' .632 winning percentage since free agency began in 1993 is the NFL's best, and the Steelers are second at .627. Brady's .767 winning percentage coming in led all quarterbacks, and Roethlisberger's .700 was second.

Think how much better the Steelers' record would be if they didn't meet up with Brady.

The Steelers, unable to solve New England's defense for most of three quarters while trailing 17-3, took advantage of a 38-yard pass interference penalty on Brandon Meriweather to advance to the Patriots 8 late in the third quarter. But Roethlisberger threw incomplete on second and third down, and Jeff Reed missed a chip-shot 26-yard field goal -- his seventh miss of the season.

The Steelers, clearly deflated, then allowed Brady to throw 45 yards to Brandon Tate on New England's second play from scrimmage, and Brady ended the 80-yard drive with a 3-yard TD run on a quarterback draw that made it 23-3.

Pittsburgh finally got into the end zone on Roethlisberger's 6-yard throw to Emmanuel Sanders with just over 12 minutes remaining. By then, the game had the feel of New England's 41-27 AFC championship game victory during the 2004 season, when the Patriots dominated for three quarters before the Steelers piled up some meaningless statistics.

All three of Pittsburgh's touchdowns came in the fourth quarter, with Roethlisberger (30 of 49, 387 yards) also finding Wallace on scoring passes of 15 and 33 yards.

Pittsburgh was without Roethlisberger's blind-side protectors, left tackle Max Starks (neck, out for season) and left guard Chris Kemoeatu (knee, ankle) and, with backups playing, Roethlisberger was sacked five times. Rashard Mendenhall was held to 50 yards rushing one week after Cleveland's Peyton Hillis pounded New England's No. 29-ranked defense for 184 yards and two touchdowns.

Game notes


New England has lost successive games in only two seasons in the last eight. The Patriots are 25-2 after a loss since 2003. ... New England is 15-3 against the AFC North. ... New England came into the game with only 13 sacks. ... It was the first matchup in 25 years of multiple Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
NE
PIT
1st Downs2627
Passing 1st downs
2022
Rushing 1st downs
54
1st downs from Penalties
11
3rd down efficiency
3-105-12
4th down efficiency
0-00-0
Total Plays6770
Total Yards453425
Yards per play6.86.1
Total Drives1113
Passing350349
Comp - Att
30-4330-49
Yards per pass
8.17.1
Interceptions thrown
01
Sacks - Yards Lost
0-05-38
Rushing10376
Rushing Attempts
2416
Yards per rush
4.34.8
Red Zone (Made-Att)3-52-5
Penalties10-1136-45
Turnovers01
Fumbles lost
00
Interceptions thrown
01
Defensive / Special Teams TDs10
Possession31:2828:32

Passing Leaders

NEC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Brady30/433508.1300-0
PITC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Roethli...30/493877.9315-38

Rushing Leaders

NECARYDSAVGTDLG
Green-E...18874.8017
Woodhead4112.805
PITCARYDSAVGTDLG
Mendenhall11504.5034
Moore4143.505

Receiving Leaders

NERECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Welker88911.102612
Gronkowski57214.43255
PITRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Wallace813617.023311
Moore57915.80295

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERNEPIT
neTD09:48Rob Gronkowski 19 Yd Pass From Tom Brady (Shayne Graham Kick) 70
neFG01:03Shayne Graham 31 Yd 100
SECOND QUARTERNEPIT
pitFG05:08Jeff Reed 22 Yd 103
THIRD QUARTERNEPIT
neTD09:48Rob Gronkowski 9 Yd Pass From Tom Brady (Shayne Graham Kick) 173
neTD00:22Tom Brady 3 Yd Run (Pat Failed) 233
FOURTH QUARTERNEPIT
pitTD12:11Emmanuel Sanders 6 Yd Pass From Ben Roethlisberger (Jeff Reed Kick) 2310
neTD08:32James Sanders 32 Yd Interception Return (Two-Point Pass Conversion Failed) 2910
pitTD06:44Mike Wallace 15 Yd Pass From Ben Roethlisberger (Mewelde Moore Run For Two-Point Conversion) 2918
neTD04:23Rob Gronkowski 25 Yd Pass From Tom Brady (Shayne Graham Kick) 3618
pitTD02:59Mike Wallace 33 Yd Pass From Ben Roethlisberger (Mewelde Moore Run For Two-Point Conversion) 3626
neFG01:53Shayne Graham 36 Yd 3926

Research Notes

From Elias: The Steelers scored 23 points in the 4th quarter of a home loss on Sunday night. The last team to score 23 points in the 4th quarter at home and still lose the game was October 21, 2007 when the Texans scored 29 points in the 4th quarter of a 38-36 home loss to the Titans.
Sunday's defensive performance by the Steelers was the worst by the team in the 10-season history of Heinz Field:
  [+]

BradyTom Brady had his sixth career game with at least 350 passing yards, three TDs and zero interceptions. That's tied for second most all-time with Peyton Manning.

  [+]

GronkowskiRob Gronkowski became the sixth rookie tight end since 1960 to have three TD catches in a single game. He is also just the fifth rookie overall with three TD receptions in a single game in the last 15 seasons.

  [+]

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