Patriots - Steelers: Friday Observations

<p>Friday observations for the matchup between the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers. News, notes, records and more.</p>


Record Books:
This year, the Pats are 6-0. They set the NFL’s consecutive regular season victory mark last week when they won their 18th in a row by beating division rival The New York Jets 13 - 7. Add that to the consecutive regular season and playoff record streak they established three weeks ago, and New England’s consecutiv evictory streak stands at 21.

Everyone is impressed with those numbers but the team itself. "It is what it is," says New England wide receiver David Patten. "It’s a sign we’ve done a great job to this point, but we have two-thirds of the season to play."

October Observations:
Steelers head coach Bill Cowher has a record of 35-13 lifetime for the month of October.

The Patriots have an 8-0 record of the for the month of October over the past two years.

Matchup of quarterbacks:
The Patriots’ Tom Brady was a sixth-round draft choice five years ago and has won two Super Bowls, becoming what New England offensive coordinator Charlie Weis calls "the next closest thing to a coach" for his game-plan understanding.

Pittsburgh rookie Ben Roethlisberger arrived with high expectations as a first-round draft choice, but has proven to be extraordinarily productive. The first Steelers rookie to start at quarterback since Bubby Brister in 1986, Roethlisberger became the first QB to win his first four starts at the beginning of his rookie season since New York Giants QB Phil Simms in 1979. Simms is now working as a TV analyst, and will cover the game as for CBS-TV.

Team Objectives:
What Pittsburgh will try to do is to bottle up the Patriots right from the start. New England has scored first in its past 11 regular season victories. The Steelers have shown a pressing, blitzing defense this year a reflection of their attack defense of the ’90s. They have forced 15 turnovers, only 10 fewer than for all of last year.

Matchup to watch:
Duce Staley vs. Corey Dillon. It’s getting colder, so the new rushing aces of each team could spell the difference. Ex-Eagle Staley of the Steelers already has three 100-yard games. New Patriot, former Bengal Dillon (637) is five yards short of New England’s top individual rush effort of last year (642).



LEADER   11-5
STREAKS Past 2  
COACHES VS. OPP. Belichick: 5-8 Cowher: 4-4
LAST WEEK W 13-7 vs. Jets Bye (Wk. 6: W 24-20 at Cowboys)
LAST GAME 9/9/02: Steelers 14 at Patriots 30. New England QB Tom Brady passes for 3 TDs as defending Super Bowl champion Patriots open up Gillette Stadium.
LAST GAME AT SITE 12/6/98: Patriots 23, Steelers 9. New England's defense forces 3 turnovers in 2nd half while Patriots QB Drew Bledsoe throws for 327 yards & 1 TD.
BROADCAST CBS (4:15 PM ET): Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Bonnie Bernstein (Field reporter)


PASSING Brady: 104-172-1,389-11 (T2C)-5-95.3 Roethlisberger (R): 78-113-937-7-4-100.1 (2C)
RUSHING Dillon: 129-637-4.9-3 Staley: 126-582-4.6-1
RECEIVING Givens: 24-443-18.5-1 Ward: 43 (3C)-531 (3C)-12.3-2
OFFENSE 347.8 315.3
TAKE/GIVE +2 +5 (T2C)
DEFENSE 326.0 287.2
SACKS McGinest: 3.5 A. Smith: 4.0
INTs Wilson: 2 Polamalu, Townsend: 2
PUNTING Jo. Miller: 44.2 (3C) Gardocki: 43.5
KICKING Vinatieri: 52 (3C) (16/16 PAT; 12/13 FG) Reed: 34 (16/16 PAT; 6/9 FG)

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Source: NFL Media

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