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Will The Steelers Ever Get Past Tom Brady on Their Own?

One of the biggest questions for the Steelers is whether or not they can get past Tom Brady and New England Patriots. Three times the Steelers have faced Tom Brady in that game, 2002, 2005 and 2017, and three times they have lost. Since 2002 the Steelers have also made it to the Super Bowl three times, but they have never had to go through Brady and the Patriots to get there. Begging the question can the Steelers beat Tom Brady when it counts?

The 2006 Playoffs

The Steelers were a team of destiny during the 2005-2006 season. They were on a mission to win a championship for Jerome Bettis. That season the playoffs started early for the Steelers. Not only would they have to win three playoffs games just to get to the Super Bowl, but they also had to win their final found regular season games just to make it into the playoffs.

After beating the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first round the Patriots just had to beat Denver. If they had the Steelers would have traveled to New England once again for the AFC Championship game.

The Patriots were driving in the third quarter of that divisional game. Tom Brady was looking for the go-ahead score:

Champ Bailey’s interceptions return resulted in a one-yard touchdown run by Mike Anderson. The Broncos went on to win and the Steelers avoided Brady and the Patriots. Perhaps the Steelers would have beat anyone that next week, but this was the first time the Steelers were able to avoid Brady in the playoffs and they made it to the Super Bowl.

First Quarter of Week 1 2008

In 2006 the Steelers failed to make the playoffs. A year later they lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first round. Then came the 2008 season.

Brady went down with a knee injury on that first drive and missed the entire season. With the Patriots out of the way the Steelers once again were able to make their way to the Super Bowl. They beat the Chargers and Ravens in the playoffs and won, one of the greatest games of all-time, Super Bowl 43.

The 2011 Playoffs

Again in 2011 it looked like the Steelers would be running into the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game. New England was the top seed in the AFC and Pittsburgh was the second seed. Then, the sixth-seeded New York Jets upset the Patriots. The Jets scored 14 fourth-quarter points and won 28-21.

The Steelers, again with the Patriots out of the way, were able to make the Super Bowl. That game didn’t go as well as 2006 and 2009, but it was the only other time during the Ben Roethlisberger era that the Steelers have made it to the big game.

The Time is Almost Up

Teams with mediocre quarterbacks rarely make a run at a Super Bowl. That is one of the reasons that quarterback is considered one of the most important positions of all the major sports. Right now the Steelers have a great quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger, but that time is almost up. Roethlisberger may play one or two more years and that gives the Steelers one or two more legitimate shots at winning it all.

When Roethlisberger retires the Steelers will have to find another quarterback to lead them where they want to go. Perhaps it will be Joshua Dobbs, but perhaps not. Just remember the quarterback carousel in Pittsburgh before Roethlisberger. That is something that no one wants to see again, but it is also a common problem for teams lacking a franchise quarterback.

Can the Steelers Beat Tom Brady When it Counts

Bill Belichick and Tom Brady seem to have the Steelers’ number. Their quick passing game is hard to cover and makes it hard to put pressure on the quarterback. The best way to beat them is with great man-coverage corners. That is one of the reasons so many fans have argued for the team to focus on corner in the past.

Right now the Steelers have a very young defense that has the ability to be very good. Artie Burns looks like he will be a very good corner. Ross Cockrell has played very well for the Steelers as well. Senquez Golson, Cameron Sutton and Brian Allen are also young corners in the mix and the hope is that these young players will help to alleviate issues in the secondary.

The real test, however, will come against the New England Patriots. The Steelers will face the Patriots on December 17. They also, given that both teams are expected to be very good during the upcoming season, could see the Patriots again in the playoffs. The real question is: can they finally get past Brady when it counts?

One thing is for sure, they have the high-powered offense to outscore the Patriots, but can the defense do enough to win the game. It wasn’t enough in the AFC Championship, but the Steelers may get another shot in early 2018, we will see if that young defense is up to the task if they get a second shot.

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