PHOTO: New England Patriots safety Tebucky Jones, left, intercepts a pass from Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart, not shown, to stop a Pittsburgh drive late in the fourth quarter of the AFC Championship game Sunday, Jan. 27, 2002, in Pittsburgh. The Patriots beat the Steelers, 24-17. (AP Photo/Roberto Borea)
Pregame Notes: New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers
The New England Patriots take their winning streak and previous good fortune on the road to Hienz field to play the streaking Pittsburgh Steelers today. The Steelers have had a major resurgence when rookie QB, Ben Roethlisberger replaced QB, Tommy Maddox after game two. Maddox, who injured his throwing arm elbow, has been sidelined ever since, and it isn't looking like he's going to be able to regain his starting position unless something drastic happens to the rookie.
The Steelers are 4-0 with Roethlisberger at the helm. Should the Steelers line be able to thwart the Patriots pass rush, Roethlisberger is sure to have another good day. Key injuries to the Patriots secondary, have forced them to play rookies in place of veterans like Tyrone Poole who is on this weeks injury report.
The Patriots offensive line which has done an amazing job of protecting QB, Tom Brady, is facing its toughest challenge now that the second starting Tackle, Tom Ashworth has been scratched from the lineup with a bad back.
The Patriots are one of the top 5 teams in the NFL in sacks vs sacks given up. A quarterback sack can change the complexion of a game for the both the offense and defense. This season, the top five teams with the highest sack differential -- defined as sacks by the defense minus sacks allowed by the offense have a combined 26-5 record (.839). The top five teams in the category and their record:
Philadelphia +11 (6-0), Indianapolis +10 (4-2), New England +10 (6-0), NY Jets +10 (5-1), Denver +8 (5-2)
Notes of Interest:
- The Patriots played their inaugural game in Gillette Stadium against Pittsburgh on Sept. 9, 2002
- Patriots linebacker Roman Phifer and Steelers linebacker James Farrior were on the same defensive unit with the New York Jets in 1999 and 2000
- Former Patriots practice squad member Russell Stuvaints is now on the Steelers active roster at strong safety
- Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel played in 51 games with the Steelers from 1997-2000. He totaled 43 tackles, including seven sacks while with the Steelers
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Patriots (6-0) Vs Steelers
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can really move chains
"I think whenever you throw it past the first-down sticks, he catches
it," Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said. "And if he catches
it short of the first-down sticks, he will turn around and run over some
guys. He has really done a great job of running after the catch this year.
on a roll, Patriots return to the place their mini-dynasty began
No, not their unprecedented run of 21 consecutive victories or their
NFL-record 18 regular-season wins in a row streaks that could be
severely tested by the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are 4-0 with rookie quarterback
Ben Roethlisberger starting.
living and breathing Boston sports right now
early lead sets the tone, Patriots can sing a happy tune
Report: New England Patriots
makes Patriots a winner
See the NEWSWIRE for other great stories today
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Todays Gameday preview was assembled with help by Marc Ricci. You can find Marc on the Forums under the screen name: Shoot2thrill