13-0 .. Guaranteed
How's That Blueprint Working Out?
Let's start with Anthony Smith, who got burned repeatedly. I'm taking suggestions for what he owes Patriots fans for failing to meet his guarantee that Pittsburgh would beat your New England Patriots. Please add your suggestions in the comments, be creative, and follow our Community Guidelines.
So, add together the number of sacks, forced fumbles and interceptions of the league's "No. 1 defense." What did you get?
That's right: one -- and that's being generous..
The scorekeeper must have felt bad, and he credited Tyrone Carter with forcing Ben Watson to fumble midway through the third quarter. The ball went out of bounds, and Watson was injured on the play. The fumble was probably more a function of the injury than anything Carter did, but I haven't seen a clean replay.
The "No. 1 defense" also allowed three receivers to catch 7 or more passes, and two receivers gained more than 100 yards each. They allowed the opposing quarterback to complete 32 of 46 passes (69.6 percent), and a few of those were outright drops -- nothing the defense did -- and the QB had a passer rating of 125.2. They did register four QB hits, a couple of them late, but not flagged.
They did hold the offense to 22 yards rushing, but on only 8 designed rushing plays.
Meanwhile, the defense that received no press all week set up camp in the Steelers' backfield and sacked Ben Roethlisberger three times. They held "Big Ben" under 200 yards and to a passer rating of 86.3. No receiver had more than 5 receptions, and the defense combined for 5 passes defended.
That defense allowed Willie Parker 124 yards in the game, but less than 100 before garbage time, and 30 on one play.
Oh, the defense with no print also made a goal-line stand at the start of the 4th quarter, a dagger in the heart for a team that basically gave up right then and there.
Here are the final New England stats (bold = led team):
Brady: 23 of 46 (.696) for 399 yards, 4 TDs, 125.2 rating
Maroney: 8 carries, 18 yards (2.3 avg.)
Brady: 1 carry, 4 yards
Welker: 9 catches, 78 yards, TD
Moss: 7 catches, 135 yards, 2 TD
Gaffney: 7 catches, 122 yards, TD
Watson: 4 catches, 33 yards
Faulk: 3 catches, 15 yards
Stallworth: 1 catch, 9 yards
K. Brady: 1 catch, 7 yards
Harrison: 9 solo tackles, 2 assists (11 total), pass defended
Wilfork: 7 solo, sack
Bruschi: 6 solo, 2 assists
Seau: 6 solo
Sanders: 5 solo, 3 tackles, pass defended
Thomas: 3 solo, 2 assists, sack, pass defended
Samuel: 3 solo, 2 assists, pass defended
Vrabel: 3 solo, 2 assists
Jarvis Green also had a sack.
Patriots: 21 first downs, 18 by pass, 2 by rush, 1 by penalty
Patriots just 4 of 11 on 3rd down (36 percent), 1-for-1 on 4th down.
Steelers 5 of 14 on 3rd (36 percent), 2-for-4 on 4th.
Penalties: Steelers, 6 for 49 yards; Patriots, 3 for 20 yards
Red-zone efficiency: Steelers, 0-for-3; Patriots 2-for-4 (against the "No. 1 defense")
Goal-to-go efficiency: Steelers 0-for-2; Patriots 2-for-3 (against the "No. 1 defense")
Time of possession: Steelers 34:43, Patriots 25:17
The only turnover was when a Pittsburgh punt coverage blocker touched the bouncing punt, and the Patriots covered the ball. It did not turn into points, but it may have shifted momentum some.
Roethlisberger: 19 of 32 (.594), 187 yards, TD, 3 sacks, 86.3 rating
Parker: 21 carries, 124 yards
Davenport: 6 carries, 33 yards
Roethlisberger: 4 carries, 24 yards
Ward: 5 catches, 39 yards
Miller: 4 catches, 28 yards
Parker: 4 catches, 23 yards
A Few More Notes
Brady now has more than 4,000 yards on the season and 45 touchdowns. He needs 15 yards to match his career high of 4,110 and 4 touchdowns to match Peyton Manning's single-season record.
Moss has 19 touchdown receptions, exceeding his career best of 17, which he matched last week. He needs 3 more to tie Jerry Rice for the most in a single season.
It seemed like Bruschi had more than 8 tackles.
Pittsburgh's first field goal was the first time all season the Patriots (not the No. 1 defense) allowed an opponent to score on their first drive of the game.
Gostkowski missed a 48-yard field goal and made one from 42 and one from 28.
Chad Jackson returned to his place as all-purpose returner, returning 2 punts (Welker returned one) and 4 kickoffs.
Maroney. I don't know what the future holds for him in Patriots uniform, but what's his trade value? That one big run he had (10 yards; otherwise 8 yards on 7 carries) was due more to the scrum push of the O line than Maroney's running.
How Do They Have Jobs?
The Steelers are a conglomeration of dirty players and poor sports. I counted 6 late hits, only one of which was called, and they started several post-play fisticuffs incidents, including a late hit by James Harrison on Brady after which Logan Mankins did what the officials refused to do -- protect the QB. Arnold Harrison (Pittsburgh has three Harrisons) should be fined for his ridiculous late hit on the Patriots last punt with less than 2 minutes to play. He should have been ejected; but, again, the officials were powerless or gutless.
On several occasions, here and on the "old Pats Pulpit," I've railed against the absolute worst in Boston sports broadcasting. Among the targeted have been John Dennis, who didn't think Bruschi should play football ever again after his stroke; Dale Arnold, who labels callers "dummies" when they don't agree with him and often when he doesn't know what he's talking about himself; Bob Lobel, who just needs to retire; and Butch Stearns, who never really seems to have any correct facts, know his history or really have any idea what he's talking about.
Now we have Andy Gresh.
We were listening to WBCN-FM on the way home from the game. Gresh, though he was corrected, continuously called Pittsburgh's Troy Polamalo "Pah-LOM-a-loo." It's Pol-a-MAH-loo, you nitwit. They guy's a premiere player in the league. You should probably know how to pronounce his name.
Gresh also repeatedly said that the "flea-flicker" (it's not a flea-flicker) went to Donté Stallworth. It didn't. It was Jabar Gaffney.
Gresh often says incredibly stupid things, almost like he's not watching the games, reading anything about them, doing any research at all. I generally ignore him as the typical clown you sometimes get on the local airwaves, but he's just embarrassing.