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Steelers Turn The Tables On Patriots
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Steelers Turn the Tables on Patriots

Only a few weeks ago the Pittsburgh Steelers were said to be "old, slow, and finished. Done" by some NFLanalysts. Nowafter taking down the New England Patriots 25-17 yesterday, they are sitting atop the AFC with a 6-2 record. It certainly doesn't look they are old, slow, or finished. They are still pretty darn good.

Everybody is going to be talking about Ben Roethlisberger and how he carved up the Patriots defense for 365 yards and 2 touchdowns. They'll talk about how the Steelers took what they gave them, which was a ton of short to intermediate passes. Antonio Brown led them all with 9 catches, but for only 67 yards. Mike Wallace had 7 for 70, and the bigger surprise was Heath Miller, he of the 7 for 85 day. They all had big catch numbers but not many yards to show for it, and it worked all day long.

What struck me as the difference in the game was the change in defensive philosophy for D coordinator Dick LeBeau. In the past the Steelers have played their typical 3-4 with zone blitzing coverages, and Brady has slice and diced them to the tune of a 6-1 record. This time they were in man to man most of the day, with as many as 10 guys in the box with 1 safety. It wasn't something Brady had ever seen from them before, and it seemed that he didn't know how to respond to it. They held the uber potent Brady to only 198 yards and 2 touchdowns. For the Patriots that is almost like being shut out.

The Patriots couldn't get anything going on the ground either, as their leading rusher was fresh from the pup list Kevin Faulk. He managed 32 yards on 6 tries, and the man I thought would be able to do something BenJarvus Green-Ellis was a no show with 5 carries for 9 yards. Captain Tom's 2 TD passes went to Deion Branch in the second quarter, and to Aaron Hernandez late in the fourth. Wes Welker was also limited in the damage he could do, he struggled for 39 yards on 6 grabs. "The Gronk" led them with 94 yards on 7 catches.

You have to give credit where credit is due, and the credit in the game lies all on the coaching staff of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Basically shutting out the top offensive team in the game, holding them to only 10 points until late in the game. The tiger changed its stripes, and it certainly paid off. They were able to play good man defense on the receivers, bottled up the run game, and they got to Tom Brady for three sacks. All in all a great effort by the Pittsburgh team, and they get a bonus in a couple of week, the late year bye week. Don't discount a rest at that point in the season, it could propel them back to the Super Bowl.


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