PITTSBURGH – With last week’s terrible performance against the Browns still on the fresh mind the Patriots needed come out fighting against one of the toughest defenses in the NFL. They came out, and came out strong in a 39-26 victory over the Steelers Sunday night at Heinz Field. The Patriots looked like they were back to their normal selves They looked better than normal actually. Brady picked apart the Steelers defense throwing 350 yards for 3 TDs and rushing 3 yards on a QB sneak for a TD himself. This against a team who had only given up an average of 15 points in their previous games. The Patriots improve their record and also the interesting fact that they are now 23-2 in games after a loss. An oustanding performance by all to put the Steelers away in this one.
Who did Brady target for those 3 TD passes you ask? Rob Gronkowski, the man with something to prove after last week’s upsetting performance. Gronkowski proved it big time grabbing 5 for 72 yards and 3 TDs with no fumbles. (big improvement over last week’s 4/47, 0 TD, 1 fumble). These weren’t all easy plays either. Gronkowski is showing he has the skills to be a play-maker, the only thing he has to show now is that he can do it on a consistent basis. Missing from this week’s performance was Gronkowski’s rookie TE pal Aaron Hernandez who was last week’s big play-maker. Hernandez went from 5/48 with 2 TDs to a big nothing this week. He was also absent from practice Wednesday which leaves us wondering if the future star is fully healthy.
The best offense is a great defense, but in this case the Patriots had both. The Pats defense took Big Ben to the ground 5 times and James Sanders took a Rothelisberger pass back for a pick-6. This is the kind of game that leaves you wondering… “What the heck happened last week?”. If the Patriots can continue to come out like this with high intensity on both sides of the ball they are going to be a difficult opponent for any team in the league.
That’s exactly what they need heading into next week’s match-up against the Indianapolis Colts.This time it’s the banged up Colts that are going to be looking to prove that they are a Super Bowl contender. The Colts are fighting through the pain with the loss of Dallas Clark for the rest of the season, and Austin Collie and Blair White out for a while. Peyton is losing targets left and right and force to rely on the crippled backfield with Mike Hart and Joseph Addai both out. Bob Sanders being out certainly doesn’t help on the defensive side of thing either. Although they are coming off of a win over the Bengals, Peyton would hardly qualify his performance as anything but disappointing. The Indy QB threw 185 yards with no TDs and got sacked twice. The only reason the Colts came away with the win was because Carlson Palmer threw to the Colts defense more than he threw TDs. Look for an intense match-up next Sunday at Gillette.