NFL Game of the Week: New England Patriots vs. Pittsburgh Steelers


The New England Patriots are 30th in the NFL against the pass and 19thagainst the run this season. If you combine the Patriots subpar defense performance with their below average offense they should be sitting in the AFC cellar at week 9 looking for ways to salvage a disaster of a season. But instead of trying to merely maintain their season they have the best record in football at 7-2 and seem to beat everyone they shouldn’t according to the stats.  How do they win? Matchups, on and off the field.

Sundays contest between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Patriots was a showdown between two of the NFL’s elite coaches, Mike Tomlin and Bill Belichick. And just as many games prior to this one Belichick got the best and beat his opponent as the Patriots won 39-26 in convincing fashion. Using a young defensive secondary that was headlined by rookie CB Devin McCourty and second year players S Patrick Chung and CB Kyle Arrington the Patriots held the Steelers out of the end-zone till the 4th quarter. But when the 4th quarter began the game was decided with the Patriots winning 23-3 and the Patriots just had to protect the lead.

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Patriot QB Tom Brady had a stellar day completing 30 of 43 pass attempts for 350-yards and 3 touchdowns. His counterpart, Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, also had an excellent day as he completed 30 of 45 pass attempts for 387-yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception. But beyond Big Bens heroic efforts there was little for the Steelers to hang their hat on as they were outcoached and outplayed until mop-up time.

Rookie TE Ron Gronkowski of the Patriots had a career day with 5 cathes for 72-yards and 3 touchdowns. The 21 year old from Arizona was electric on the field hooking up with Brady in many key moments of the game. He along with other young players McCourty, Arrington and Chung have stepped up and performed for a Patriot team who always seems to find someone in the draft to play at a high level. Belichick ability to slide in young players into key positions show why he is the best coach in the NFL and will win by out-coaching his opponent.

The Steelers now drop their record to the 6-3 and now head into Oakland to play a rested Raider team who is coming off a bye week. The good news is the Steelers have played well on the road this season and have a 4-1 record to show for it. And even though the Raiders are coming off a emotional win over the Kansas City Chiefs but they looked sloppy in their victory and will need to be more crisp against the Steelers. The Patriots will get no rest as they return home to play Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts who have a 6-3 record.