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Trick or Treat? Steelers Beat Patriots by Playing Small Ball

Savoia/AP

The monkeys have finally jumped off the Steelers’ back in week 8 as they beat the Patriots at home. It was a long time coming heading into week 8, but the Pittsburgh Steelers gave off a similar vibe the Buffalo Bills gave off heading into week 3 before they played the Patriots this season: desperation. The last time the Bills beat the Patriots was in 2003 while the last time the Steelers beat the Patriots was in 2004. The Patriots were just coming off their bye week heading into this game while the Steelers were in much need of a bye week with all the injuries they have suffered thus far this season. With the Steelers having so many injuries on their team and the Patriots coming off their bye week with two weeks to prepare, most people including myself thought the Patriots were going to come out on top in week 8, but we were all wrong.

Unlike the past, Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau didn’t feel the need to dial up the blitz to put pressure on Tom Brady all game; they did it with their front four. However, the Steelers front four isn’t what carried the game for them, Big Ben did. Ben Roethlisberger beat the Patriots at their own game by playing small ball for 4 quarters. In fact, 30 of the 36 passes completed by Big Ben were of 10 yards or less. He completed 72 percent of his passes and kept his offensive unit on the field for 39 minutes! Brady had his team on the field for only 20 minutes. The Steelers had 29 first downs while the Patriots had only 19. The game plan in this one took the Patriots by surprise and the Steelers were the better team but the Steelers just wanted it more in the end. In week 9 the New England Patriots (5-2) will stay at home to take on the New York Giants (5-2).

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