Patriots hand out road map on how to beat Steelers’ defense

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady waits to go onto the field to face the Pittsburgh Steelers for the first quarter of their NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania November 14, 2010. REUTERS/ Jason Cohn (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Entering Sunday night, most pundits would have agreed that the Steelers’ front seven is probably the best in football. Observers know that Pittsburgh can be had through the air (as long as you stayed away from Troy Polomalu), but that was if you figured out a way to neutralize their pass rush, of course.

Well, Tom Brady and the Patriots figured out a way to neutralize the Steelers’ rush in a lopsided 39-26 victory in Pittsburgh on Sunday night. And not only that, but they laid out a blueprint on how other teams can do the same.

Chris Collinsworth said it best during the broadcast when he mentioned how the Steelers “like to play in a phone booth.” They want teams to try to line up and run the ball right at them. And when they stop the run, they want their opponents to be one-dimensional so that defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau can disguise where the pressure is coming from and frustrate the quarterback.

But the Patriots turned their game with the Steelers into a track meet. Brady spread the ball out, worked the middle of the field, found receivers on the outside for quick gains and often set his offense up with short down-and-distances all night. His offensive line was also outstanding, as they picked up the Steelers’ blitzing linebackers and allowed Brady to work through all of his progressions.

Defenses can’t give any quarterback time to throw. When they give someone like Brady time, they might as well be signing their own death wish.

Granted, not every team can do what Bill Belichick’s Patriots can do. But the NFL is a copycat league and you can bet offensive coordinators that have the unenviable task of facing the Steelers over the next two months will be dissecting that tape. Pittsburgh won’t play that bad defensively every week, but suddenly they look a little vulnerable on that side of the ball.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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