It's a crazy NFL season. Everybody says so. There are no 2006 Colts, no 2007 Patriots and no 2009 Saints. This seems to bother the talking heads quite a bit. I suspect it's because they can't just jump on a bandwagon and stay there. One week the Jets look dominant and the next they look like chumps. One week the Giants look like they've rounded back into 2007 form, and then next week they lay a stinker against the Cowboys (of all teams.)
Every one of the teams that look like contenders have laid at least one huge turd this year. Even the best teams are flawed. It's a crazy, upside-down NFL season, up for grabs for any of a dozen or so teams, but some things never seem to change.
Like the Tom Brady ass-whipping the Steelers. That never seems to change. The Steelers can, when they are on their game, beat 30 other teams in the NFL, but not the Patriots. At least not the Patriots when Brady is under center.
Patriots 39, Steelers 26.
I've seen this movie before. And I hated it the first half-dozen times I suffered through it. Two thumbs down. Way, Way down.
January 27, 2002: Patriots 24, Steelers 17.
September 9, 2002: Patriots 30, Steelers 14. In a game that looked eerily like last night's.
October 31, 2004: Steelers 34, Patriots 20. Yeah, I liked that one. I was hoping we'd see more like that.
January 23, 2005: Patriots 41, Steelers 27. Worse than the 2001 loss? Maybe it's a toss-up. They both sucked.
December 9, 2007: Patriots 34, Steelers 13.
Do I really have to go on? The 2008 game doesn't count because there was no Brady.
There is no NFL team I hate more than Evil Hoodie and his Patriots. This is well documented. Ironically, there is no team that the Steelers lose to like they do the Patriots. Oh, sure, sure, they drop a game to the Colts here and there. And split games with divisional rivals. It's gonna happen. Especially in division.
In hacker speak, Brady just owns them. When he comes to Pittsburgh, he should wear a t-shirt that reads "Because I'm the Daddy. That's why."
QB ratings are really not exact, and require complex logarithms calculate, but while they are not perfect, they do give you some idea of how effective a quarterback has been in a game, in a season, or against a certain team. Brady's played the Steelers six times in his career. The average of all of those six ratings gives him a lifetime QB rating against the Steelers of 106.7. That's really good, people.
A couple of years ago, the Patriots played in a little game against the Giants. No big deal or anything, it was just Super Bowl XLII, so maybe you saw it or heard about it. The Giants toppled the behemoth Patriots and they did it by hitting Brady. Then hitting him some more. They collapsed the pocket and took away a comfortable place for him to plant and throw. And then they hit him some more. It was an veritable instruction manual for beating Tom Brady.
The Steelers didn't hit him last night hardly at all. He could probably wear that game jersey again next week without even laundering it. Brady in a comfortable pocket = death. It's that simple. I don't care who your DB's or linebackers are, but if you give he of the Justin Beiber hair (formerly of the tiny hipster hat) time, he will carve you up like a Thanksgiving turkey. And so he did.
As to last night's mess on the offensive side for the Steelers, there are plenty of reasons for the dysfunction. Heck, most of the starting offensive line has no business starting an NFL game. I'm not sure I've seen a guard have a worse game than Trai Essex did, and except for Hotel Flozell and the magnificent rookie Maurkice Pouncey, they were all taken to the woodshed most of the night. The Steelers never did establish any kind of offensive rhythm and without Hines Ward in there, Pig Ben had no safety blanket in the redzone. (Has there ever been a worse redzone offense than this iteration of the Steelers? Maybe like the Rich Kotite Jets or something, but this is an historically inept team when they get the ball inside the 10.)
So, what does this Patriots mastery over the Steelers mean for right now, today? Is it a blip, just more of the same? The Steelers can beat everybody but Brady, so they can right the ship and hope to not see the Pats in the playoffs? It's possible, right? Right?!
Or, is this loss the tipping point, just the beginning of the another second half swoon like the one we saw last year?