Final

Patriots 17

(5-2, 2-2 away)

Steelers 25

(6-2, 4-0 home)

Coverage: CBS

4:15 PM ET, October 30, 2011

Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA 

1 2 3 4 T
NE 0 10 0 717
PIT 7 10 3 525

Top Performers

Passing: B. Roethlisberger (PIT) - 365 YDS, 2 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: R. Mendenhall (PIT) - 13 CAR, 70 YDS

Receiving: R. Gronkowski (NE) - 7 REC, 94 YDS

Steelers figure out Tom Brady as Ben Roethlisberger picks apart Pats

Associated Press

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers no longer have a Tom Brady problem. And that may be a problem for the rest of the NFL.

Old, slow and over? Not quite yet.

Ben Roethlisberger picked apart the NFL's worst defense and the Steelers rattled the nearly unflappable Brady in a 25-17 victory on Sunday, putting an end to the two-time MVP's decade of dominance over the defending AFC champions.

Brady came in 6-1 all-time against the Steelers, putting up eye-popping numbers in the process. He never got the chance on a chilly day at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh (6-2) controlled the ball for nearly 39 minutes and never let Brady get into a sustained rhythm.

"It's been all Tom Brady versus the Pittsburgh Steelers and looking back on the past, how he's owned the Pittsburgh Steelers, and I think everybody forgot about our offense a little bit and the things they've been doing out there," Pittsburgh linebacker LaMarr Woodley said. "I think they took that a little personal."

Playing efficiently and working almost exclusively on short, safe, underneath routes, Roethlisberger completed 36 of 50 passes for 365 yards and two touchdowns as the Steelers won their fourth straight following a 2-2 start.

"We can be as good as we want to be," Roethlisberger said. "When we don't kill ourselves and stop ourselves, we can be pretty dangerous."

Brady passed for two touchdowns but threw for a season-low 198 yards. His attempt to lead the Patriots to an unlikely comeback ended when Pittsburgh's Brett Keisel sacked him, forcing a fumble that Troy Polamalu slapped through the end zone with 8 seconds left to provide the final margin.

"We all have to individually look in the mirror and figure out what we need to get better at," Brady said.

There was no sense of panic among the Patriots, who fell into a tie with Buffalo atop the AFC East. Yet the Steelers did something no team has been able to do this year: keep Brady under wraps.

Pittsburgh sacked him three times, held wide receiver Wes Welker -- on pace for an NFL record for yards receiving in a season -- to 39 yards on six receptions while limiting the Patriots to their fewest points since a 34-14 loss to Cleveland last year.

The Patriots punted four times, missed a field goal in the third quarter that would have drawn them within a touchdown and failed to recover an onside kick with just over 2 minutes remaining.

Not the kind of brisk execution that's been the hallmark of Brady and coach Bill Belichick's highly successful tenure.

"It just wasn't a really good day for us in any phase of the game, in any area," Belichick said. "We just didn't do a good enough job. That's really all there is to say."

Brady and Belichick remain tied with Don Shula and Dan Marino for most wins by a coach/quarterback tandem. Win No. 117 will have to wait at least a week after the Steelers emphatically awoke from an early-season slumber that included one-sided losses to Baltimore and Houston.

Pittsburgh didn't panic after the slow start. And while the Steelers weren't ready to declare they're back, there was a definite sense of vindication on a day that felt more like January than late October, and not just because of the chilly weather.

"It's a huge step," linebacker Lawrence Timmons said. "The New England Patriots have Belichick and Brady. This is a team that contends in the AFC every year and goes to the championship or the Super Bowl. So having this win, in our house, is huge and something to build on."

On both sides of the ball.

Roethlisberger has built a career and won two Super Bowls by chucking it deep with abandon. On Sunday he didn't complete a pass over 26 yards. He didn't have to.

Roethlisberger consistently found Antonio Brown (a career-high nine receptions), Heath Miller (a season-high seven grabs) and speedster Mike Wallace (seven catches) on short and intermediate routes.

The West Coast-style approach worked perfectly.

Pittsburgh's five scoring drives lasted 11, 16, 10, 14 and 11 plays. The Steelers converted 10 of 16 third downs and Shaun Suisham kicked three field goals.

"It's very frustrating," New England nose tackle Vince Wilfork said. "You talk about getting a team in second-and-longs and third-and-longs and taking advantage of those situations. We had them in those situations; we just didn't take advantage of them."

Despite being dominated for long stretches in the first half, the Patriots trailed just 17-10 at the break. Yet the magic Brady has been able to muster repeatedly against the Steelers throughout his career never appeared. On the same field where he won two AFC championships, Brady never really got comfortable.

"We had to beat them today," safety Ryan Clark said. "We're talking about this dominance that New England's had on us. I think we've won more Super Bowls, been to more Super Bowls than they have. It's not about history. We were excited to win today."

Game notes


Woodley finished with two sacks to become the first Steeler to get multiple sacks in four consecutive games. ... New England RB Kevin Faulk ran for 32 yards on six carries and caught five passes for 20 yards in his first game of the season. ... Patriots lost for just the second time in their last 11 games coming off a bye and lost in October for just the seventh time since 2003. ... New England TE Rob Gronkowski set a career high with seven catches. ... The Steelers played without offensive captain Hines Ward and defensive captain James Farrior, who missed the game with injuries. ... New England defensive lineman Andre Carter had two sacks for the 11th time in his career.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
NE
PIT
1st Downs1929
Passing 1st downs
1123
Rushing 1st downs
35
1st downs from Penalties
51
3rd down efficiency
3-1010-16
4th down efficiency
0-00-0
Total Plays5078
Total Yards213427
Yards per play4.35.5
Total Drives910
Passing170329
Comp - Att
24-3536-50
Yards per pass
4.96.6
Interceptions thrown
01
Sacks - Yards Lost
3-285-36
Rushing4398
Rushing Attempts
1223
Yards per rush
3.64.3
Red Zone (Made-Att)2-22-5
Penalties6-378-50
Turnovers01
Fumbles lost
00
Interceptions thrown
01
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession20:3839:22

Passing Leaders

NEC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Brady24/351985.7203-28
PITC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Roethli...36/503657.3215-36

Rushing Leaders

NECARYDSAVGTDLG
Faulk6325.309
Green-E...591.803
PITCARYDSAVGTDLG
Mendenhall13705.4018
Moore11616.0016

Receiving Leaders

NERECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Gronkowski79413.40239
Welker6396.50108
PITRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Miller78512.10199
Wallace77010.00167

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERNEPIT
pitTD09:08Mewelde Moore 5 Yd Pass From Ben Roethlisberger (Shaun Suisham Kick) 07
SECOND QUARTERNEPIT
pitFG14:57Shaun Suisham 33 Yd 010
neTD08:20Deion Branch 2 Yd Pass From Tom Brady (Stephen Gostkowski Kick) 710
pitTD02:41Antonio Brown 7 Yd Pass From Ben Roethlisberger (Shaun Suisham Kick) 717
neFG00:29Stephen Gostkowski 46 Yd 1017
THIRD QUARTERNEPIT
pitFG06:11Shaun Suisham 21 Yd 1020
FOURTH QUARTERNEPIT
pitFG11:26Shaun Suisham 23 Yd 1023
neTD02:35Aaron Hernandez 1 Yd Pass From Tom Brady (Stephen Gostkowski Kick) 1723
pitSF00:08Ball Through End Zone 1725

Research Notes

From Elias: LaMarr Woodley had 2 sacks, marking his 3rd straight game with at least 2. Woodley is the first player in Steelers history to have 3 straight multi-sack games.
This was an unusual sort of loss for the Patriots, who lost despite Tom Brady completing 68.6 percent of his passes and not throwing an interception. This is the first game the Patriots lost in which their passers threw for that high a completion rate and had no interceptions since December 8, 1980, a 16-13 overtime loss to the Dolphins.

PatriotsThe Patriots' defense could not get off the field on Sunday against the Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger completed 9-of-12 passes on third down for 104 yards, including both of his touchdowns.

  [+]
Tom Brady threw for 5.9 yards per attempt on Sunday against the Steelers against at least five defensive backs. Entering Sunday, Brady was averaging more than nine yards per attempt this season. Since 2008, the Patriots are 0-4 when Brady is held to fewer than six yards per attempt against at least five defensive backs.
  [+]

 RoethlisbergerBen Roethlisberger turned in an elite short-range performance against the Patriots on Sunday, as both of his touchdown passes came on throws fewer than 10 yards.

  [+]
Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers' offense consistently spread out the Patriots defense by emptying the backfield. Roethlisberger threw both of his touchdowns out of empty-set formations and recorded nine plays that went for first downs, shattering his previous mark of six.
  [+]

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