The New England Patriots will travel to newly-named Acrisure Stadium on Sunday to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers. These two teams have been relatively evenly matched throughout history as the Patriots are 17-16 all-time against the black and gold.
Let’s take a look back on some of the most important games between these two:
First Meeting in the Series: The first meeting between these two foes was on October 22, 1972. This game was an absolute blowout as the Steelers trounced the Patriots 33-3 in Pittsburgh. This game saw Jim Plunkett (NE) and Terry Bradshaw (PIT) face off.
Plunkett threw two interceptions, while Pittsburgh kicker Ray Gerela hit four field goals and three extra points.
Most Lopsided Game: One may think that the first meeting between the two teams was the most lopsided, but this was not the case. On October 19, 1986, the reigning AFC champion Patriots defeated the Steelers 34-0.
Steve Grogan threw three touchdown passes for New England, one each to Stephen Starring, Tony Collins and Willie Scott. Pittsburgh’s starter, Bubby Brister, was 9-for-27 for just 100 yards and two interceptions. This Patriots team would go on to lose in the divisional round of the playoffs to the Denver Broncos.
Playoff History: The two teams have matched up five times in the playoffs and the Patriots have won four of those five, including going 3-0 in the AFC Championship games. They faced off in the divisional round in back-to-back years in 1997 and 98. New England won 28-3 in ‘97 and the Steelers won 7-6 in ‘98.
After those two games, all of the playoff matchups featured Bill Belichick and Tom Brady leading the Patriots. They got the best of Pittsburgh in 2002, 2005, and 2017.
In 2002 both Brady and Drew Bledsoe played at quarterback, and the game was relatively close with a final score of 24-17. The other matchups were all Brady, and saw New England win comfortably: the team won 41-27 in Pittsburgh in January 2005, and 36-17 at Gillette Stadium 12 years later.
Most Recent Matchup: In the most recent clash, we saw New England destroy the Steelers 33-3. The Pittsburgh offense could not do anything at all, and Devin McCourty had an interception off quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Tom Brady three touchdowns in this game, two to Phillip Dorsett and another to Josh Gordon. Julian Edelman also completed a pass for 32 yards in this contest.
Most Memorable Matchup: The most memorable matchup between these two teams has to be the 2005 AFC Championship game. These two teams hated each other in the early 2000s and there were a lot of words exchanged on and off the field. The winner of this game was going to be the favorite heading into the Super Bowl as well.
As noted above, the Patriots won with a final score of 41-27. Tom Brady had two passing touchdowns, a 9-yarder to David Givens and a 60-yarder to Deion Branch (who also had a rushing touchdown). Corey Dillion registered 73 rushing yards and a score while safety Rodney Harrison had an 87-yard pick-six on Roethlisberger. Big Ben threw two touchdowns, but his three interceptions cost Pittsburgh a chance at a Super Bowl title.
This win allowed New England to advance to the big game, where it eventually won 24-21 over the Philadelphia Eagles.