Last Sunday in Pittsburgh the Steelers brought their trademark tough defense and handed New England, fully rested after a bye week, just its second loss of the season.
Tom Brady, the reigning league MVP who is making another solid case for himself thus far, had only suffered one career defeat against the Steel City's black and yellow before Sunday but found himself smothered and stifled all afternoon. He notched a pair of touchdowns but was limited to a season-low 198 passing yards. The Steeler D's constant pressure and excellent coverage of his receivers (Wes Welker and Deion Branch were non-factors) preventEd Brady from getting in a groove, and the offense stalled, especially since Pittsburgh's defensive line virtually eliminated New England's mediocre running game. As a result, the high-powered Patriot offense was shut out in both the first and third quarters.
New England trailed the entire game but made a last-ditch comeback attempt by pulling to within six with 2:35 remaining after an Aaron Hernandez TD, but Pittsburgh foiled their drive with eight seconds left by sacking Brady and recovering the ball for a safety after Troy Polamalu batted it into the endzone.
On the other side of the ball, the Patriots defense was not sharp and allowed Big Ben Roethlisberger to throw for two TDs and almost twice as many yards as Terrific Tom. Pass coverage has been a legitimate issue with this defense all season long, and Sunday's game was definitely a step in the wrong direction after their tremendous effort against the Cowboys during Week 6.
The Pats look to bounce back at home against Eli Manning and the Giants.