PATRIOTS (6-2) at STEELERS (6-2)
*Sun., Nov. 14, 2010 - 8:20 p.m. EST
Heinz Field (65,050)
The New England Patriots travel to play the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football in the second game of the only back-to-back road games for the Patriots in 2010. Last week, the Patriots lost at Cleveland, 34-14. Since the beginning of the 2003 season, the Patriots are 24-2 (.923) in games following a regular-season loss. Over the last seven seasons (2003-09), the Patriots have only lost back-to-back games on two occasions, once in 2006 and once in 2009.
Since 2001, the Patriots have an NFL-best 75-23 (.765) record in games played after Nov. 1. Pittsburgh has the second-best record after Nov. 1 since 2001 with a 66-30-1 (.685) record. Since Robert Kraft purchased the Patriots in 1994, the Patriots lead the league with 189 wins, while the Steelers are second with 181 victories.
TELEVISION:This week's game will be broadcast to a national audience by NBC and can be seen in Boston on WHDH-TV Channel 7. Al Michaels will handle playby- play duties with Cris Collinsworth providing color. Andrea Kremer will be the sideline reporter.
NATIONAL RADIO:This week's game will be broadcast to a national audience by Westwood One. Dave Sims and James Lofton will call the game. Scott Kaplan will be the sideline reporter.
RADIO:98.5 FM, The Sports Hub, is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. A complete listing of the network's 36 stations can be found here. Play-by-play broadcaster Gil Santos is in his 34th season as the voice of the Patriots and will call the action along with Patriots Hall of Famer Gino Cappelletti. Santos and Cappelletti are celebrating their 27th season as a tandem.
STRONG IN THE SECOND HALF
Since 2001, New England has done a remarkable job of finishing the season strong, compiling a 75-23 (.765) record after Nov. 1, including playoff games.
PATRIOTS vs. AFC NORTH
The Patriots are 14-3 all-time against the AFC North in the regular-season since the division was founded in 2002. Prior to the 34-14 loss to Cleveland last Sunday, the only AFC North losses for New England were to the Steelers, with a 34-20 loss at Pittsburgh (10/31/04) and a 33-10 loss vs. Pittsburgh (11/30/08). The Patriots only other loss to the AFC North during that time frame was a 33-14 loss in a 2009 Wild Card game at home against Baltimore. The Patriots are 2-1 so far in 2010 against the AFC North following a 38-24 win vs. Cincinnati (9/12), a 23-20 overtime win vs. Baltimore (10/17) and the 34-14 loss to Cleveland (11/7).
The Patriots and Steelers will square off for the 25th time overall and the 21st time in the regular season. While New England has won six of the last ten games, Pittsburgh prevailed in the last meeting, a 2008 matchup at Gillette Stadium with a 33-10 victory.
Pittsburgh leads the all-time regular-season series 13-7, but the Patriots lead the postseason series by a 3-1 margin. The teams played in the AFC Championship Game following the 2001 and 2004 seasons, with the Patriots winning both times en route to Super Bowl titles. Of the previous 24 games in the series, 17 have been played in Pittsburgh, where the Steelers own a 10-7 advantage. The Patriots will travel to Pittsburgh for the first time since a 23-20 Patriots win on Sept. 25, 2005.
The Patriots posted a 30-14 win in the Grand Opening of Gillette Stadium on Monday Night Football on Sept. 9, 2002 against the Steelers.
Overall Record 10-14
Home Record 3-4
Gillette Stadium 2-1
Foxboro Stadium 1-3
Away Record 7-10
Heinz Field 3-1
Three Rivers Stadium 4-9
Longest winning streak 3 games (twice)
Longest losing streak 5 games (12/17/89 - 12/16/95)
Bill Belichick vs. Pittsburgh 7-8 (5-2 with New England)
Mike Tomlin vs. New England 1-1
Tom Brady has played against Pittsburgh four times in the regular-season and two times in the postseason. He owns a 3-1 regular-season record and a 2-0 postseason record after two AFC Championship wins at Pittsburgh following the 2001 and 2004 seasons. Brady is 1-1 against the Steelers in Pittsburgh in the regular-season and 2-0 at Pittsburgh in the postseason.
PATRIOTS-STEELERS QUICK HITS
- This week's game features the league's two best late-season teams since 2001. In games played after Nov.1 in the NFL since 2001, the Patriots lead the league with a 75-23 record while the Steelers are second at 66-30-1.
- Since Robert Kraft purchased the Patriots in 1994, the Patriots lead the league with 189 wins, while the Steelers are second with 181 victories
- The Patriots lead the NFL with 17 playoff victories since 1994, while the Steelers are second with 15 playoff victories.
- Pittsburgh Steelers Running Backs Coach Kirby Wilson held the same position in New England from 1997-99.
- New England Patriots LB Tully Banta-Cain and Pittsburgh Steelers WR Arnaz Battle were teammates on the San Francisco 49ers from 2007-08.
- Patriots S Jarrad Page and Pittsburgh LB Keyaron Fox played together on the Kansas City Chiefs from 2006-07.
- Pats OL Dan Connolly, RB Fred Taylor, LB Tracy White and Steelers QB Byron Leftwich were all teammates on the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2005. Leftwich was also an Atlanta Falcon with Pats TE Alge Crumpler in 2007.
FORMER COLLEGE TEAMMATES
- New England Patriots OL Mark LeVoir and Pittsburgh Steelers WR Arnaz Battle were teammates at Notre Dame in 2002.
- Patriots LB Gary Guyton and Steelers RB Jonathan Dwyer played together at Georgia Tech in 2007.
- New England QB Tom Brady and Pittsburgh LB Larry Foote were teammates at Michigan for two years from 1998-99.
- Pats LB Jerod Mayo and Steelers OL Ramon Foster were Tennessee Volunteers together from 2005-07.
- Patriots rookies - LB Jermaine Cunningham, TE Aaron Hernandez and LB Brandon Spikes were teammates at Florida from 2007-09 with Steelers rookie OL Maurkice Pouncey.
- New England TE Alge Crumpler and Pittsburgh K Jeff Reed were college teammates at the University of North Carolina in 2000.
- Pats DL Gerard Warren and Steelers OL Max Starks were Gators at Florida in 2000.
- Patriots RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Steelers WR Mike Wallace played together for Mississippi from 2006-07.
- New England rookie P Zoltan Mesko and Pittsburgh LB LaMarr Woodley were teammates at Michigan in 2006.
BY THE NUMBERS
2The number of kickoff returns that WR Brandon Tate has returned for a touchdown in 2010 after he returned a 97-yard kickoff for a touchdown vs. Cincinnati (9/12) and a 103-yard kickoff for a touchdown at Miami (10/4). Tate is the first Patriots' player to return two kicks for a touchdown in a season since Kevin Faulk returned two for a touchdown in 2002. The Patriots' record for most returns in a single season is three by Raymond Clayborn in 1977.
2The number of blocked kicks recorded by S Patrick Chung in 2010 after he blocked a punt and a field goal in the Patriots win at Miami (10/4). He is the first NFL player to block a field goal and a punt in the same game since CB Ramon Walker of Houston blocked a field goal and a punt vs. New England on Nov. 23, 2003.
The number of interceptions that the Patriots have returned for a touchdown in 2010 after LB Gary Guyton returned an interception 59 yards for a score vs. Cincinnati (9/12) and S Patrick Chung returned an interception 51 yards for a score at Miami (10/4).
The number of touchdown receptions by rookie TE Rob Gronkowski. The most touchdowns by a rookie tight end in Patriots history is four by Russ Francis in 1975 and Don Hasselbeck in 1977.
The number of 10-plus tackle games that LB Jerod Mayo has had in 2010.
The number of 10-plus reception games by Wes Welker. He has the most 10-plus reception games in Patriots' history.
The number of kickoffs that Stephen Gostkowski has kicked for a touchback in 2010. Last season he tied a Patriots record with a career-high 21 touchbacks. Justin Canele had 21 touchbacks in 1966 for the Patriots.
The number of consecutive regular-season starts that Tom Brady has won at Gillette Stadium. The NFL record for most consecutive home wins by a starting quarterback since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger is held by Brett Favre, who won 25 straight games for Green Bay (1995-98).
The number of points the Patriots are averaging in 2010. The Patriots are on pace to finish with 438 points, which would be third in team history to the 589 scored in 2007 and the 441 scored in 1980.
The number of consecutive regular-season games that Welker has caught at least one pass. He has caught at least one pass in all 57 games as a member of the Patriots, including three postseason games.
74The number of times that Brady has thrown two or more touchdowns in a game. The Patriots are 62-12 when he throws for two or more touchdowns.
103The number of total tackles by LB Jerod Mayo. He is on pace to finish the season with 206 tackles. That number would be the highest since LB Steve Nelson had 207 tackles in 1984.
The number of wins that Brady has as a starting quarterback. He reached the milestone in the fewest number of starts (131) among all quarterbacks in the modern era.
THE KRAFT ERA
The number of Super Bowl championships the Patriots have won since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. That mark is the highest total in the NFL over that span. Only Denver (2; 1997 and 1998) and Pittsburgh (2; 2005 and 2008) have won multiple Super Bowl titles since 1994.
5The number of conference championships the Patriots have won since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. That mark is the highest total in the NFL over that span. Pittsburgh is second with three conference titles since 1994.
17The number of playoff games the Patriots have won since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. That mark is the highest total in the NFL over that span. Pittsburgh ranks second with 15 playoff wins over that span.
25The number of playoff games the Patriots have appeared in since 1994. The mark is the highest in the NFL, ahead of the 23 games played by Pittsburgh.
176The number of consecutive home games the Patriots have sold out, a streak that includes every preseason, regular season and playoff game since the 1994 regular season opener.
THE BELICHICK ERA
Bill Belichick is one of just four coaches to win three championships since the Super Bowl era began. Belichick joins three members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the exclusive club (Chuck Knoll 4, Joe Gibbs 3 and Bill Walsh 3). Belichick is the only coach to win three Super Bowls in the post-1993 salary cap era and the only one to ever win three in four years.
113-39The Patriots' regular season record since 2001 under Head Coach Bill Belichick. Under Belichick, the Patriots have won 74.3 percent of their regular season games, recording the highest winning percentage of any major American professional sports team over that span.