LeBeau, Steelers Find Answers

Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau had his players do all the talking after they shut down Tom Brady and beat the New England Patriots, 25-17.

PITTSBURGH -- You heard the one about Dick LeBeau and the Steelers not being able to beat Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, right?

Apparently LeBeau did, too. So he didn't want to talk after the Steelers beat the Patriots, 25-17 Sunday.

"Talk to the players," LeBeau said as he waved off an interview request.

The Steelers' defensive coordinator had no comment, probably because the game was his comment.

LeBeau said after last year's game – after Brady carved up the Steelers for 350 yards and 39 points – that "I hope we do get him again. He is a great player but he'll not do the same thing."

LeBeau believed in his players then, and yesterday we saw why. His defense held the Patriots to a season-low 17 points and 213 yards, and Brady to a season-low 198 yards passing.

"It wasn't really anything different," said Casey Hampton. "You just didn't see guys running free. We got up, bumped, and challenged them. You can't say enough about how the secondary played. Even when there was no pressure, (Brady) was back there patting the ball because the coverage was so good. They were physically challenging them all the time and guys weren't making mistakes."

"Today we played more man than we've ever played against any team," said Ryan Clark. "I was in the middle of the field one time and I usually look in and say, ‘OK, I'm going to go to the guy I'm scared of the most.' And I looked at them and said, ‘Well I'm not scared of nobody.'

"When you see all your guys (in) press man, excited about playing, excited about challenging the other team's receivers, it gets you excited. And it was an amazing job with our corners."

Ike Taylor had the difficult task of covering Wes Welker. Taylor had been primarily an outside corner, even when assigned his one man to cover. The last two seasons have seen an increase in his work inside, but with Welker that was Taylor's primary duty.

Welker finished with 6 catches for only 39 yards.

LeBeau also had to take satisfaction in winning a big game without his captain and signal-caller James Farrior, as well as his best pass-rusher, James Harrison. Of course, LaMarr Woodley made his case as the team's top pass-rusher with his two sacks.

But LeBeau worked in young defenders such as Cortez Allen, Ryan Mundy, Chris Carter and Stevenson Sylvester and made it work. The latter made his first career start.

Of course, much of the credit for the defensive success belongs to the offense for possessing the ball for 39:22.

"We played three plays in the first quarter," said Clark. "Brett Keisel looked over to me and said, ‘Hey, man, I can take this. I said, ‘Yeah, I can play five more years if we play three plays every quarter."

Clark was asked about the approach LeBeau took with the unit prior to the game.

"Nothing different," Clark said. "I don't know if he heard all that talk ‘Brady owns LeBeau,' and this and that. I never read any stories but I read the headlines and it made me mad just because I love coach LeBeau and I don't believe there should ever be a negative word written about him. But he didn't say a word. He just said he believed in the guys in the room."


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