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Old 11-15-2010, 06:40 AM   #1
A Son of Martha

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Default Collier: Brady sneaks by ... again

Collier: Brady sneaks by ... again
Brady sneaks by ... again
Monday, November 15, 2010
By Gene Collier, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A three-yard quarterback sneak for a touchdown against the Steelers is purely an imaginary phenomenon, right?

You practically have to be stacking multiple doses of psychotropic drugs just to think of such a thing, but if you could, the guy with the football would be wearing number 12.

Only Tom Brady, noted Steelers torturer and still the NFL's premier gunslinger, could pull off something like that. Against perhaps the best run defense in all of Pittsburgh's gloried history, Brady sneaked three yards to a back-breaking third-quarter touchdown Sunday night, a preposterous flourish to a bravura performance that couldn't be adequately described just by its glittering numbers.

For the record, they were 30-for-43 passing for 350 yards and three touchdowns, no interceptions.

So if the second half of this Steelers season is going to resemble its first steps, a second consecutive extended offseason might well begin before sundown on Sunday Jan. 2.

What you're hoping for this morning, of course, is that Brady really was just that good last night, just that polished, just that confident, just that smart, just that reliably brilliant.

Or would you rather the Steelers were just that bad?

Brady's not 7-1 lifetime in this town by accident, but the issue Sunday night seemed to be a question of which was more irritating, that he was that good or that he seemed to enjoy it that much.

He jumped up and spiked the ball after gesturing to the end zone audience in the third period, and he demonstrated a degree of glee with all three of his touchdown passes on the way to this 39-26 prime-time slap in the face.

The prettiest of all those throws came with Brandon Tate running a deep post pattern through some alarmingly vacant acreage and Brady discharging a 45-yard bullet for a first down at the Steelers' 35. He then hit Wes Welker for 16 yards to the 24 and Deion Branch for six yards to the three, from where he sneaked home for a 23-3 lead.

Sneaked three yards.

Sneaked three yards?

With Brady pitching a perfect game throughout the first quarter, the Patriots appeared on their way to a stunningly easy night on the familiar Heinz Field lawn that is almost invariably a perfect stage for their ample offensive talents.

New England was simply going to win this one they way it has approached so many big games over the years, with advanced precision in the passing game, which comes courtesy of a sixth-round draft pick out of Michigan.

Brady completed his first three passes and 10 of his first 12 against a Steelers defense that was giving him a wary cushion despite the fact Randy Moss took this team's only deep threat with him to Minnesota weeks ago, then on to Tennessee and who knows where else on No. 84's mercurial mystery tour.

These days, Brady cavorts principally with Welker and old favorite Branch, but augments that substantially with an entire fleet of tight ends, each more capable than the next.

The first touchdown pass zipped through a small window in the Steelers' secondary into the fine hands of 6-6 tight end Rob Gronkowski, who once transferred from his smallish Western New York high school to play at Woodland Hills in the hope that he would be better prepared for a major college program (perhaps Arizona) and might one day be catching multiple touchdown passes from Brady in Heinz Field.

Ok not exactly, but it's funny how things work out. I mean funny without the laughter, obviously.

Gronkowski caught Brady's laser in the narrow seam between William Gay and Ryan Clark for a 7-0 New England lead after one possession. It was 10-0 after two and might have established a suspicious 40-0 rhythm had there not been a minor outbreak by the natural enemy of advanced precision, namely careless imprecision.

Brady waited a millisecond too long before firing a likely touchdown pass to wideout Brandon Tate, giving the Steelers' Bryant McFadden just enough time to step in front of it and drop it.

On the very next play from Steelers' 35, Welker was guilty of a false start, moving the ball back to the 40, from where Brady was finally subjected to some pressure for the only time all night. LaMarr Woodley arrived to hit his release point, and the throw that resulted was broken up by Lawrence Timmons.

Similarly, Patriots' linebacker Jermaine Cunningham, one of three rookies starting on defense for Bill Belichick, got flagged for lining up in the neutral zone, helping to move the Steelers to the 4 and allowing Jeff Reed a 22-yard field goal.

He'd later miss from 26, which I guess is beyond his range now. Sort of in the way New England is beyond Pittsburgh's right now.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10319...#ixzz15LXNI0XE
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