The Patriots and Steelers have been two of the most three successful teams in the NFL over the last decade, with the Colts also in the mix.
You’d think that the Patriots-Steelers would have a good rivalry because of that, but their matchups have been too one-sided to call it a true rivalry.
The teams have faced off in big games. But for whatever reason, Dick Lebeau’s defense doesn’t seem to bother Tom Brady.
Greg A. Bedard of the Boston Globe has the numbers. Brady is 6-1 against Pittsburgh, with a regular season loss in 2004. In the six wins, Brady has 14 touchdowns and one interception. The last four games have included a 70.9 completion percentage, nine touchdowns, one pick, and a yards-per-attempt average of 8.79.
Brady is one of the best quarterbacks of all time, but this dominance is still a surprise. Those Steelers defenses, like this Steelers defense, ranked among the best in football.
Bedard believes the Steelers defense simply isn’t as good when you spread them out, which the Patriots do better than anyone. Pittsburgh only blitzed the Patriots seven times last year, which just isn’t “Steelers football.”
This Steelers defense has steadily improved despite increasing age and injuries. Nose tackle Casey Hampton could return this week, but James Harrison remains out. They rank first in the league in yards-per-attempt allowed, but that stat will be tested Sunday.
Some things in the NFL change every year, but the Steelers and Patriots are AFC contenders once again facing off in a big conference game.
If history is any indication, Brady should feel right at home Sunday in Pittsburgh.