The final time the Patriots confronted the Steelers with each groups coming off losses, Invoice Parcells was teaching rookie quarterback Drew Bledsoe in New England in 1993.
That’s the backdrop for Sunday’s showdown in Pittsburgh after the Patriots (9-Four) misplaced in epic style on the Miami Miracle and the Steelers (7-5-1) booted one away in Oakland for his or her third straight loss.
The circumstances are uncommon, and the playoff implications are monumental. The Steelers have the most important potential swing of creating the playoffs and profitable their division of any workforce this week, whereas the Patriots have the most important potential swing of getting a primary-spherical bye, in accordance to ESPN Stats & Information.
Main playoff implications
Head to head
The Steelers have house-area benefit, however the Patriots have Tom Brady, and historical past suggests having No. 12 is the true benefit.
Brady has dominated Ben Roethlisberger in 10 head-to-head video games, together with the playoffs.
“We hear that quite a bit, you guys have not had a whole lot of success in opposition to Brady and Belichick,” Roethlisberger stated on 93.7 The Fan. “Properly, who has? Not lots of people have. That is why they’ve won so many championships and are fairly good.”
The final time Roethlisberger beat Brady head-to-head was Week Eight of 2011.
“It is a new 12 months,” Roethlisberger added. “Tom continues to be the very best of all time, and Belichick is perhaps, too.”
How they’ve fared this season
Mike Reiss, ESPN Patriots reporter: It hasn’t been an MVP-kind season for Brady, who won the award in 2017, however he has nonetheless been one of many higher quarterbacks within the NFL this season.
Alongside the best way, the 41-year-previous has damaged a number of information, most just lately passing Peyton Manning for probably the most landing passes in league historical past (playoffs included), with 582. One other milestone, albeit of the playful selection, got here when he lastly reached 1,000 dashing yards Dec. 2 in opposition to the Vikings.
A few of Brady’s early struggles this season had been extra a result of things round him, as he was with out prime goal Julian Edelman for the primary quarter of the season as Edelman served a suspension for violating the NFL’s efficiency-enhancing substances coverage. Additionally, tight finish Rob Gronkowski has been out and in of the lineup, whereas receiver Josh Gordon was acquired in mid-September and had been pressured to be taught the workforce’s system on the fly.
Brady has additionally battled via a knee harm of late, however he has nonetheless proven flashes of brilliance.
Jeremy Fowler, ESPN Steelers reporter: Regardless of some erratic moments and the Steelers’ three-recreation dropping streak, Roethlisberger is pacing for his most prolific passing season of his 15-year profession.
Roethlisberger has by no means had a 5,000-yard season, a milestone he stated he’d recognize. At Four,227 yards via 13 video games, second solely to Patrick Mahomes, Roethlisberger ought to simply surpass that quantity. His 28 passing touchdowns place him nicely to eclipse his profession excessive of 32.
The one factor holding Roethlisberger again is turnovers, tying for second-most within the NFL with 13 interceptions, 4 of which have come within the pink zone. However the Steelers will stay with the occasional decide as a result of, as tight finish Vance McDonald says, the quarterback retains Pittsburgh in each recreation as a result of he takes probabilities.
Massive Ben has stored the offense buzzing regardless of the lack of Le’Veon Bell, and for the ultimate stretch, the Steelers will ask him to redirect their reeling season.
|Tom Brady||Class||Ben Roethlisberger|
|65.6 (17)||Completion proportion||(12) 67|
|three,700 (T6)||Passing yards||(2) Four,227|
|7.76 (11)||Passing yards per try||(12) 7.74|
|23 (T11)||Passing touchdowns||(T6) 28|
|Eight (T10)||Interceptions||(T29) 13|
|98.2 (13)||Passer ranking||(14) 97.Four|
|18 (T5)||Sacks||(T5) 18|
|72.Eight (5)||Complete QBR||(Four) 72.9|
|* NFL rank in parentheses|
Brady is taken into account by many to be the best participant of all time, so evaluating him to another quarterback would seem lopsided. Roethlisberger isn’t any exception, though his numbers additionally will put him within the Corridor of Fame sooner or later.
It is nice vs. nice, and each will want to be on prime of their video games Sunday to enhance their playoff positioning.
|Reg. season wins (SB period)||1st||seventh|
|GW drives (4th qtr/OT)||4th||sixth|
Brady is a mixed 26-Eight in opposition to potential Corridor of Fame contemporaries within the AFC: Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers (7-zero) and Roethlisberger.
Brady’s dominance of Roethlisberger might ultimately be probably the most dominant head-to-head matchup between Corridor of Fame quarterbacks in historical past. There have been 20 Corridor-of-Fame quarterback duos within the Tremendous Bowl period which have met at the very least 5 occasions, together with the playoffs. Solely three characteristic one QB with an .800 or higher win proportion vs. the opposite, in accordance to ESPN Stats & Information.
|John Elway vs Warren Moon||7-1||.875|
|Troy Aikman vs Brett Favre||6-1||.857|
|Brett Favre vs Steve Younger||Four-1||.800|