Tom Brady has owned the Steelers

Getty Images

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.

53 responses to “Tom Brady has owned the Steelers

  1. Here is what happens. Brady gets rid of the ball in a couple seconds and throws it 5-7 yards to somebody. That’s very difficult to stop. He does it against every team, not only the Steelers, that’s why he puts up the numbers he does. He is great at it.

    The Steelers do well when they put pressure on the QB, and Brady doesn’t do well when he is pressured. He is not that mobile, so he looks to get rid of the ball quick. The Steelers have to find a way to blanket their receivers right off the bat and force Brady to hold the ball a little longer, giving the rushers time to get to him.

    On the other hand, Ben has to put a lot of points on the board in any event. Steelers likely have to score more than 30 to have a chance, and they are capable of doing that.

    The next 2 weeks for Steelers football will be very excititing.


  2. Considering how Ryan Clark said the Ravens/Steelers matchups aren’t deemed a “rivalry” because of how the Steelers have dominated the wins over the last few years, does he have the same feeling about the Patriots/Steelers games?

  3. It also seems to come at the expense of Polamalu. He somehow takes advantage of Polamalu’s aggressiveness in a way no other QB seems able to.

  4. Incl. postseason, QB Tom Brady has 6-1 record vs. Pit. & has 14 TDs vs. 3 INTs & 104.8 passer rating, = total domination and this trend will continue. The last time Bill and Tom lost after a bye was 2002

  5. “Bedard believes the Steelers defense simply isn’t as good when you spread them out, which the Patriots do better than anyone.”

    This has been the case for many years now, you have to spread them out.

    As for Brady, you have to get pressure up the gut.

  6. I am still worried about the Steeler game. Despite the record, Brady and Belichick will not take the Steelers lightly. They have a lot of respect for the Steelers’ defense and their coach.

    Should be a good game.

  7. It’s a different year and different teams. The Patriots really haven’t run that offense with everyone split out as much. With the double tight end sets, it’s really a different offense. Maybe the Steelers match up better now. But if they don’t generate any pressure from the interior line, Brady will put up big numbers.

  8. The numbers don’t like, the Pats have beat the out scored the Steelers. A few big developments in those games include: big turnovers that result in points, special teams splash plays and spreading the Steelers defense out of their comfort zone.

    Forget the extra 1:51 the Pats received, on the road, in a closing drive from the clock error and spy gate.

    This year the Steelers have prepared for the spread with new defensive formation and a focus on stopping teams pass attacks. Week 1 is long forgotten, Sunday will be the true test of what direction the 2011 Steelers will take.

  9. Brady makes the Steelers defense look like what the Steelers haters say their Defense will be every single year. Old and slow. Brady will torch the Steelers, everyone will overreact, Steelers will finish the season top 3 in defense. Happens every time.

  10. I am a Steelers fan and here is what the Patroits are going to do to try and take advantage of our defense. They are going to do everything they can to get Gronkowski and/or Hernandez matched up on James Farrior or Ryan Clark. You will see this all game long unless the Steelers can put a stop to it.

  11. LeBeau also doesn’t call that many blitzes in games like these, which gives the QB more time to find an open receiver. I’ve seen it over and over. Makes very little sense as the Steelers D has rarely been about skill guys at the corner position.

  12. What I don’t understand is I don’t know what I hear more – Roethlisberger is overrated or the Steelers D is overrated. Is it their kicker getting them to Superbowls? People are funny.

  13. Good passing teams (Patriots, Packers, Saints) give the Steelers trouble. The Patriots are going to come out throwing on just about every play. The Steelers have big hitters in the secondary but no one who can cover.

  14. .

    Spot on analysis by Greg Bedard …the Steelers have always depended on their front seven pressure to hide the fact their secondary is not full of first round picks.

    By spreading the Steelers out with multiple receiver formations, and having a quarterback with the accuracy of Brady makes for matchups that favor the Patriots.


  15. It’s not that one sided.

    Big games count much more than regular season games.

    Big Ben’s first super bowl. Remember the AFC championship who was standing in Pitts way?

    That’s right, the Tom Brady Pats.

  16. Every year when the schedule comes out, I look at teams we should beat and teams we’ll probably lose to–I’m sure a lot of you do the same thing. To be honest, I mark Patriots games as losses.

    Brady has our number. Not sure why, but he always gets the best of us. I’m hoping our young receivers and Ben, along with the Patriots 31st ranked pass defense, at least make this game interesting.

  17. Wow, the Steelers have played a pretty crappy schedule to this point. So far, they look like San Diego. They have played two good teams and lost to both of them. We’ll see how good they really are this week.

  18. The defenses that have given Brady the most fits in the last yeas have all been game-plan defenses, e.g. Rex Ryan w/ the Jets, Rob Ryan with Dallas and Cleveland (last year).

    The Steelers aren’t a game-plan D–they are going to run their zone-scheme, and Brady is able to take advantage of that. It may not be the same as last year: lots of short in-cut and out routes from last year taking advantage of a Steeler D that plays three over the top and tries to get pressure from the edge. It may be lots of seam routes to the tight-ends who then get lots of YAC, but either way, until Pittsburgh changes their scheme against the Pats, Brady is at a serious advantage.

    Looking forward to this game.

  19. I have little hope for this game on Sunday. . .

    Brady has dominated us and unless we scheme differently I fear he will do it again.

    Hopefully they come up with a way to pressure him, because that is the only way we have a chance.

  20. Fact of the matter is that some teams just match up better against you than others. Brady is a magician at finding the matchup you don’t like. He will also go no huddle to not allow you to adjust.

    But the biggest obstacle a team faces when playing the Patriots is the need to score more than 30 points to have a chance. Not many teams can.

  21. They face Brady and then go home to play the best rivalry in NFL football. We will know almost everything about the 2011 steelers after these two games. I’m on record saying they lose both but admittedly, I am an uber biased ravens fan. My hope is that the games are intense as always, well played, and injury free. Then let’s let the chips fall where they may

  22. The steelers always get the last laugh when the stats of playoff success of the two teams during the past 4 years comes up

    But on a serious note as mentioned earlier in the comments the pats are running alot more double tight end sets now so it will be a different matchup

  23. Case in point…

    Their remaining schedule…


    If doesn’t get any easier than that for a defense.

  24. mrplow3 says:
    Oct 26, 2011 10:21 AM
    It’s not that one sided.

    Big games count much more than regular season games.

    Big Ben’s first super bowl. Remember the AFC championship who was standing in Pitts way?

    That’s right, the Tom Brady Pats.
    ..I missed that AFC Championship game whent the Steelers beat the Pats, I must have been out of the country. What year was that again?

  25. mrplow3 says: Oct 26, 2011 10:21 AM

    Big Ben’s first super bowl. Remember the AFC championship who was standing in Pitts way?

    That’s right, the Tom Brady Pats.
    I’m pretty sure that was the Jake Plummer Broncos, but let’s not let the facts get in the way of a good story.

  26. Part of the problem is the Steeler offense scoring three points through the first three quarters last year.

    Going into the fourth quarter it was 23-3 Pats and just as soon as Roethlisberger threw a TD to make it 23-10 he then threw a pick six to James Sanders to make it 29-10 (Pat’s 2 point conversion attempt failed).

    Holding the Patriots to 33 (39-6) is not that horrible but the offense has to score more than three points in the first three quarters.

    The Steelers managed some garbage time points at the end but the game was never close because the offense did squat when it actually mattered.

  27. mrplow3 says: Oct 26, 2011 10:21 AM

    It’s not that one sided.

    Big games count much more than regular season games.

    Big Ben’s first super bowl. Remember the AFC championship who was standing in Pitts way?

    That’s right, the Tom Brady Pats.

    Uhhh, no. It was Jake Plummer’s Broncos.

  28. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that the Steelers haven’t had any really good cover DBs since Woodson & Lake. Troy is great when he can roam and freelance, but he’s nothing special in single coverage.

  29. steelersmichele,

    I do the same thing, usually just assume this game is probably going to be a loss, no matter where it is played.
    The Pats have had an extra week to get ready, I look for the matchups okiesteeler mentioned – especially Farrior. He kills the Steelers in coverage, either of those TEs against Farrior is a bad one for us. Hopefully the offense can score enough points to be close in the end. It’s probably too much to hope for that Redman starts over east-west Mendenhall.

  30. If the Steelers can shut down Welker, Branch, Ocho, Hernandez, and Gronk, they can certainly win this game.

    That’s a pretty big IF, especially with the guys Pitts has in the secondary.

    And Law Firm and Ridley are running well.

    Tall order for the Squealers.

  31. Not that this really matters, but the Patriots were a spread offense from 2007 onward. When the Patriots were playing the Steelers prior to that they were basically more of a running team between Corey Dillion and Antowain Smith.

  32. Pittsburgh hasn’t had a true shut down corner in Brady’s 10 years as a starter. They still don’t.

    Until that changes, their secondary can’t possibly hope to buy the pass rush enough time to disrupt Brady.

    Patriots will win big, again.

  33. You just can’t line up against Brady and the Pats with that “do what we do” approach. If you’re running the same old stuff, they will carve you up like a Thanksgiving turkey, dictating the pace and the match-ups. That’s not a prescription for success. The Steelers will have a chance if they can keep up on offense, which they may be able to do. In years past, the Steelers ran at New England, presumably to shorten the game and control the ball, but the run defense is really the strength of the Pats D. If they go up top, they’ve got really good match-ups down the field, and as bad as the Steelers O-line is, New England has trouble consistently pressuring the QB. Play the over.

  34. as a pats fan hopefully this article doesnt give steelers bulletin board material. i dont think this game will be as easy as people say. got to shut down mike wallace and bring down big ben when hes tackled up. brady will be good as usual defense got to hold it down.

  35. The Steelers are a formidable opponent. Past performance is not necessarily an indicator of future success. The Patriots will have to play their A game to beat the Steelers in the Burg. Let it be so.

  36. My prediction is the Pats win a squeaker… 35-34… Pats secondary get torched for 4 TDs … Pats rush for 165 yards… Brady takes a beating but puts up big numbers. Ben has a big day throwing the ball… Steelers rush game is a non factor. A flukey specials play decides the game.

  37. Yeah, Brady has owned the Steelers … but the Pats are just renting. This too will pass 🙂

    Love, love, love Dick LeBeau but holeinone09 is right: We have never found a way to put the pressure on Brady. He doesn’t perform well under pressure. That’s how the Ravens nearly overcame him in 2007, how the Giants overcame him in SBXLII, and how the Browns overcame him last season. He’s not a seat-of-the-pants guy like Ben. He’s the best–but not when he’s rattled. I’d love to believe we could finally get his number this year … but without Harrison, I just don’t know. Then again, after Monday night, we all know anything is possible.

  38. kyleortonsarm says: Oct 26, 2011 10:02 AM

    Steelers “Defense” LOL. As if you can call it that. They’re terrible.


    Do you have any clue as to what you’re talking about? See below. The only team that is probably more competitive across defensive categories is the Ravens, and it’s not by that much. To be fair about it, the Steelers have been weak-to-average in certain areas (they’ve been silent in generating INTs, which is somewhat reminiscent of 2009; they’re run-of-the-mill in protecting against the run). On the flip side, they’ve also had some issues with injuries throughout the season thus far (the following have missed time at some point: Aaron Smith, James Harrison, Chris Hoke, Big Snack, Brett Kiesel, Ryan Clark – all starters, sans Hoke – and there may be others I’m missing).

    Yards Allowed per Game: 3rd in the NFL.
    Passing Yards Allowed per Game: 1st in the NFL.
    Rushing Yards Allowed per Game: 12th in the NFL.
    Points Allowed per Game: 3rd in the NFL.
    Sacks Against: 6th.
    Yardage from Sacks: 6th (tied).
    Fumbles Recovered: 3rd (tied).

    Upshot: has the Steelers’ defense looked more dominant at times in recent seasons past? Sure. However, if these numbers are that incredibly “terrible” to you, then you either know nothing about football or else need to learn how to appropriately interpret ranks (which I’m fairly certain they teach somewhere between 1st and 3rd grade).

  39. And yet, Brady can’t beat the Jets at home in the playoffs.

    He’s the new Mr. October. Except in his sport, that’s not such a good thing like it was for Reggie Jackson.

  40. What QB likes pressure? Brady has the perfect system for him. He kills every team last time I checked.

    Their defense has always held the Steelers offense in check. Thus Brady has a short field. If the Steelers do not turn the ball over they should win. The Patriots defense is terrible. Although the bye week should help them

  41. It’s hard to dispute the facts. They have owned us. Sometimes you just feel good and very confident with a team that you believe you can beat at any time and I think Brady has that calmness with us.
    Belechik deserves some credit too. Although he has the personality of a wet fart, he is a very intelligent football coach and he has a hand in our defeats as well.
    All we can hope for is that our coaching staff has studied the tapes long and hard of the 1 loss that the Pats have, and any close calls where the other teams almost had their way with them……and use that to our advantage.
    The Pats don’t have the defense that used to dominate us either. We need a great game out of our D.
    Here’s hoping for a great game and a Steeler win.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.