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Old 11-03-2013, 01:06 AM   #1
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Default Week 9 Gameday Thread: Steelers @ Patriots 11/03/2013

The New England Patriots sit atop the AFC East, yet Tom Brady thinks they can do better.
The Pittsburgh Steelers, on the other hand, definitely need some improvement.
Brady and the Patriots look to show some consistency and remain unbeaten at home by capitalizing on a meeting with the sputtering Steelers on Sunday.
New England (6-2) leads the second-place New York Jets by two games in the division, despite some uncharacteristically lowly numbers from Brady.
The future Hall of Famer is completing 55.7 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns, six interceptions and a 74.9 passer rating -- 20.7 below his career mark.
He was even worse while the Patriots split their last four games, converting 52.3 percent of his attempts for 810 yards with two TDs, four picks and a 61.6 rating.
"We're trying," Brady said. "There are a lot of things we can do better."
Getting off to a stronger start is surely one of them. The Patriots rebounded from an atrocious first half last week, scoring 17 points in the third quarter to rally for a 27-17 victory over Miami that improved them to 4-0 at home.
Brady was one of the main culprits during the slow start, connecting on 6 of 8 passes for 25 yards with an INT while the offense totaled 59 yards.
Still, the Steelers (2-5) aren't getting caught up in Brady's unusually meager statistics.
"You can pick apart his numbers, but the only one that matters is 6-2," safety Ryan Clark said. "When you give Tom Brady a chance to win a football game, he's going to do it."
He's certainly done that against Pittsburgh, tossing 16 touchdowns with three interceptions while winning six of eight meetings, including both in the postseason. He's also won both matchups at Gillette Stadium, but the most recent came back on Dec. 9, 2007.
Protecting Brady, who's been sacked 23 times already -- four fewer than all of last season -- falls to an offensive line that will be without Sebastian Vollmer.
The right tackle was lost for the season with a right leg injury last week and is expected to be replaced by Marcus Cannon, who has started only one of 31 career games over three seasons.
The Steelers, though, have managed just 10 sacks, one more than league-worst Chicago. However, their defense ranks fourth in the NFL, yielding an average of 302.9 yards, including 181.0 through the air.
"They have a good defense and the way we've been playing offensively, we can't be up and down like we've been," Brady said. "We have to be more consistent. Hopefully this is our best week to be able to do that."
Pittsburgh is also looking to bounce back after following a pair of wins with a 21-18 loss at Oakland last week. Coach Mike Tomlin isn't dwelling on the performance, which included 276 yards of offense and only 35 rushing.
"Our record is our record," Tomlin said. "There's nothing that we can do about what has been played."
Like the Patriots last week, the Steelers have been victimized by slow starts. They've been outscored 54-19 in the first quarter after trailing 15-0 versus the Raiders.
Pittsburgh, trying to climb out of the AFC North basement, is tied for 27th in the league in scoring, averaging 17.9 points.
"The starts of games don't determine the outcomes of games," Tomlin said. "We need to keep that in mind as we prepare, too. I don't want to get lulled into a sense of comfort if we should go up to New England and come out and have a successful start. We've got to play football for 60 minutes and winning football."
Ben Roethlisberger will try to rebound from perhaps his worst performance of the season. He completed 29 of 45 passes for 275 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions for a season-low 70.1 rating.
His seven picks are just one shy of his total from last season, and he's facing a Patriots defense that has seven of its 10 INTs at home. The unit is fifth in the league with 215.5 passing yards allowed per contest, but 31st against the run (130.8).
That could mean a big day for rookie Le'Veon Bell, who mustered 24 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries last week.
The Steelers won their last road meeting with New England on Nov. 30, 2008, but the Patriots have gone 34-3 at home during the regular season since that loss.
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Old 11-03-2013, 01:08 AM   #2
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Default Re: Week 9 Gameday Thread 11/03/2013

By Gerry Dulac / Post-Gazette
When the Patriots have the ball: QB Tom Brady has looked average the past four games, throwing just two touchdowns, four INTs, getting sacked 16 times and never having a passer rating above 75. The Patriots have struggled on third down, converting just 32.2 percent (37 of 115) -- second worst in the AFC. Brady, though, has been without several top performers. RB Shane Vereen is on injured reserve, WR Danny Amendola missed four games with a groin injury and concussion, and TE Rob Gronkowski has just returned after missing the first six games with a back injury. What's more, RT Sebastian Vollmer was placed on injured reserve this past week after breaking a leg against Miami. That has forced Brady to rely on a pair of rookie WRs, Aaron Dobson (26 catches, two TDs) and Kenbrell Thompkins (23 catches, four TDs). The Patriots have been able to effectively run the ball with Stevan Ridley (399 yards on 92 carries) and LeGarrette Blount (265 on 65 carries). The Steelers have already allowed nine rushing TDs, as many as they did in 2012.


When the Steelers have the ball: The Patriots have already lost their two best defensive players -- NT Vince Wilfork and LB Jerod Mayo -- and they played the past two games without shutdown CB Aqib Talib (hip flexor). However, Talib is expected to play today and will likely be matched against Antonio Brown, who leads the NFL with 56 catches. Talib has four of the team's 10 INTs -- third in the AFC. The defense has forced a turnover in 35 consecutive games, best active streak in the league. The Patriots will generate pressure on QB Ben Roethlisberger (26 sacks) with their front people. Defensive end Chandler Jones (61/2) and tackles Chris Jones (41/2) and Tommy Kelly (21/2) have accounted for 131/2 of the team's 24 sacks. Rob Ninkovich is their hybrid defensive end/linebacker, the latest version of Mike Vrabel. The Steelers are expected to be without G David DeCastro (ankle), who has been their best lineman, and could also miss G Ramon Foster (concussion). LB Brandon Spikes leads the team with 75 tackles, including a career-high 22 against the Bengals earlier this season.


Keep an eye on: WR/KR Julian Edelman ... He is the Patriots' leading receiver with a career-high 48 catches, but Edelman's biggest impact is as a punt returner, ranking among the best in NFL history. In 2012, Edelman set a franchise record with a 15.5-yard average on punt returns, including a 68-yard touchdown and a 49-yard return against Indianapolis -- the first time in team history a player had two returns of 40 yards or longer in the same game. Edelman's career average of 12.5 ypr ranks fourth all-time in NFL history.
Intangibles: The Steelers are 2-2 in Foxborough, Mass., since 1997 and 4-3 lifetime there, including postseason. But they are 0-2 in Gillette Stadium against Brady. The Steelers won the last meeting there in 2008, 33-10, when Brady was injured and Matt Cassel was the quarterback. Otherwise, they lost, 30-14 in 2002 and 34-13 in 2007. ... Since 2010, the Patriots are 23-1 in the second half of the season, the best mark in the NFL. They have won six consecutive games in November. ... Roethlisberger needs one touchdown pass to join Terry Bradshaw (212) as the only Steelers QBs to throw for 200 touchdowns in their careers.


To win, the Patriots must ...
1. Make a dash. The Steelers have been outscored in the first quarter, 41-7, in their past three losses.
2. Make a splash. The Steelers defense has allowed six plays of 51 yards or longer, second most in the league.
3. Run if by land ... The Steelers have slipped to 27th in the league against the run and allow an average of 4 yards per carry.


To win, the Steelers must ...
1. Get to Brady in bunches. He has been sacked 16 times and thrown four interceptions in the past four games.
2 Zonk Gronk. The former Woodland Hills High School standout has 12 catches and three TDs in two games against the Steelers.
3. Not court Devin. Former cornerback Devin McCourty has developed into one of the best deep-cover safeties in the league.
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Old 11-03-2013, 07:48 AM   #3
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Default Re: Week 9 Gameday Thread 11/03/2013





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Old 11-03-2013, 08:07 AM   #4
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Default Re: Week 9 Gameday Thread 11/03/2013







This is a winnable game today. Not saying we'll do it because who knows what Steelers team will decide to show up today, but the Pats* are as vulnerable as ever. Let's get it done, guys!
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Old 11-03-2013, 09:23 AM   #5
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Default Re: Week 9 Gameday Thread 11/03/2013

MUST WHINE, NO CAN LOSE!!!!.............seriously
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Old 11-03-2013, 09:39 AM   #6
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Default Re: Week 9 Gameday Thread 11/03/2013

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Originally Posted by vasteeler View Post
MUST WHINE, NO CAN LOSE!!!!.............seriously
I'm not sure about the not losing, but there will certainly be plenty of whining later today regardless.
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Old 11-03-2013, 11:42 AM   #7
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Default Re: Week 9 Gameday Thread 11/03/2013

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MUST WHINE, NO CAN LOSE!!!!.............seriously
No, no, no, no, no... Tony, can you show this young man how it's done?
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Old 11-03-2013, 01:31 PM   #8
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Default Re: Week 9 Gameday Thread 11/03/2013

Ed.B. of the P-G is just brimming with enthusiasm

But does anyone other than maybe them really think they are capable of beating the Patriots today, not to mention with their next two at home where they already have gone 1-2?...

If this team were a stock, you’d sell before it tanked much further.

So here’s the prediction for today: New England 27, Steelers 10.

It promises to be one long second half of the season.


http://sportsblogs.post-gazette.com/...s/201311030002
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Old 11-03-2013, 01:44 PM   #9
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Default Re: Week 9 Gameday Thread 11/03/2013

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Ed.B. of the P-G is just brimming with enthusiasm

But does anyone other than maybe them really think they are capable of beating the Patriots today, not to mention with their next two at home where they already have gone 1-2?...

If this team were a stock, you’d sell before it tanked much further.

So here’s the prediction for today: New England 27, Steelers 10.

It promises to be one long second half of the season.


http://sportsblogs.post-gazette.com/...s/201311030002
It could be pessimism, it could be realism. But if the game winds up being a 45-6 loss, it will turn out to be dreamy optimism.

I myself am hoping for another defensive spanking of the Patriots.
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Old 11-03-2013, 01:55 PM   #10
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Default Re: Week 9 Gameday Thread: Steelers @ Patriots 11/03/2013

If Pittsburgh is one-dimensional (yet again!), then IMO we can forget about a win. The offense has to play like it did against Baltimore, where we were able to run AND pass the ball. It is critical to get Bell and Co. rolling on the ground. New England has a strong pass defense. No doubt they will be trying to shut our WRs out. They very well know we struggle to run and lean on the pass. So the offense had BETTER get it going.
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