BRADY PILES UP YARDS
Tom Brady improved to 20-2 in games decided by three points or fewer, as he totaled 372 yards on 31-of-41 passing. The 372 yards marked the second-highest yardage total of his career and his highest yardage in a non-overtime game. Brady's 75.6 percent completion rate was the third highest of his career. The Patriots signal caller exceeded the 300-yard mark for the second time in three games this season, having also accomplished the feat against Oakland in the season opener (306 yards). Today's effort marked the 10th time in his regular-season career that Brady has exceeded 300 yards. He has also accomplished the feat twice in the playoffs.
BIG MAC ATTACK
Willie McGinest dropped Ben Roethlisberger for a 9-yard sack in the fourth quarter, moving into third place on the Patriots' all-time sacks list with his 73rd career sack. The sack moved McGinest past Tony McGee, who recorded 72.5 sacks for New England from 1974-81. McGinest, the fourth overall selection in the 1994 NFL Draft, now trails only Andre Tippett (100.0 career sacks) and Julius Adams (79.5 sacks) in the Patriots record books.
GIVENS SETS CAREER HIGHS
David Givens caught nine passes for 130 yards, setting career highs in both receptions and receiving yards. The bulk of his work came in the second half, as he caught seven passes for 111 yards in the half, including five catches for 82 yards in the fourth quarter. His previous single-game career highs were eight catches (10/31/04 at Pittsburgh) and 120 yards (09/19/04 at Arizona). Givens has now exceeded 100 receiving yards five times in his 4-year career. He is the first Patriot to gain 100 receiving yards in 2005.
BRADY SECOND FASTEST TO 50 WINS
Tom Brady recorded his 50th career regular-season victory in his 65th career start, reaching the half-century mark in the second fewest games since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. Only Oakland's Ken Stabler (62 starts) reached the milestone in fewer games than Brady. With the victory over the Steelers, Brady's regular-season record as a starter is now 50-15 (.769). Brady's regular-season winning percentage is tops among all signal callers who have started at least 40 games since the merger. Including his 9-0 mark in the playoffs, Brady's overall record stands at 59-15 (.797).
Adam Vinatieri nailed his 18th career game-winning field goal, a 43-yard boot with one second left in the game to give the Patriots a 23-20 victory over the Steelers. It was his first game-winning kick since hitting a 41-yarder to win Super Bowl XXXVIII on Feb. 1, 2004. Vinatieri is the only kicker in NFL history to kick a game-winning field goal in the final minute of the Super Bowl and has accomplished the feat twice, including his 48-yarder to win Super Bowl XXXVI. Out of the Patriots' six playoff wins since 2001, four were decided on game-winning boots by Vinatieri.
Tom Brady engineered his 17th career game-winning performance, going 12-for-12 passing for 167 yards over the final 14:19 to rally the Patriots from a 13-10 deficit and claim a 23-20 victory on Adam Vinatieri's 43-yard field goal with one second left. With Pittsburgh in the lead in the fourth quarter, Brady completed all five of his passes for 76 yards, leading a 7-play, 86-yard drive that ended in a 7-yard touchdown run by Corey Dillon that made the score 17-13. After a Steelers punt, Brady completed four more passes for 54 yards as part of a 7-play, 59-yard drive that ended in a 35-yard field goal and a 20-13 lead. Pittsburgh tied the game at 20 on the ensuing possession, but Brady went to work again, completing all three of his passes for 37 more yards, leading the Patriots into range for Vinatieri to convert the game winner.
Corey Dillon scored two rushing touchdowns today, marking his second multiple-score game of the season and the 13th time in his career he has recorded two or more rushing touchdowns. Dillon's 4-yard touchdown run on New England's first offensive possession gave the Patriots a 7-0 lead, and his 7-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter gave New England a 17-13 advantage. The touchdowns give Dillon a team-high four on the season, 16 as a Patriot and the 61 for his career. Dillon now ranks 10th on the Patriots' all-time list, moving past Carl Garrett and Babe Parilli (15 each).
TWO SACKS BY "BIG SEY"
Richard Seymour had two sacks of Ben Roethlisberger today, recording his first two sacks of the season and giving him 23.5 sacks for his career. Seymour's first sack of the day, in the second quarter, was for a 9-yard loss. His second sack was for an 8-yard loss and backed the Steelers up to their own 2-yard line.
THE DWIGHT STUFF
Tim Dwight's 28-yard punt return in the final minute of the third quarter set up a 48-yard field goal by Adam Vinatieri that pulled the Patriots to within three points, 13-10. It was the longest punt return by a Patriot since the 2002 season, when Deion Branch rattled off a 40-yard return against the Denver Broncos on Oct. 27, 2002. The return was Dwight's second of 20-plus yards this season. He had a 27-yard return in the season opener against Oakland on Sept. 8.
Kevin Faulk's first reception of the game, an 8-yard grab near the end of the first quarter, was the 211th reception of his career, moving him into second place all-time among Patriots running backs. Faulk, who was drafted by the Patriots in the second round out of LSU in 1999, trails only Tony Collins' team-record 261 receptions from the running back position. With his first catch today, Faulk passed Sam Cunningham, whose 210 receptions now rank third all-time among Patriots running backs. Faulk moved into 10th place among all Patriots receivers.
Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger and Hines Ward hooked up for an 85-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter to tie the score at seven. The completion was the longest pass play given up by the Patriots in 15 years, dating back to Dec. 12, 1990. On that day, Kansas City's Steve DeBerg hit Stephone Paige for an 86-yard touchdown pass in a 37-7 Chiefs victory at Foxboro Stadium. Today's 85-yard hookup is tied for the sixth longest pass play given up in Patriots history.
- The Patriots allowed Ben Roethlisberger to complete just 4-of-10 passes in the first half. Coming into the game, Roethlisberger had completed 71.9 percent of his passes (23-of-32).
- On the second play of the game, Rodney Harrison blitzed and pressured Roethlisberger, who dumped the ball off to Willie Parker, who in turn was smothered by Mike Vrabel for a 6-yard loss.
- Monty Beisel batted down a Roethlisberger pass with 2:42 left before halftime, setting up a third-and-7.
THIRD TIME IN A YEAR
The Patriots played in Pittsburgh against the Steelers for the third time in less than a calendar year (10/31/04, 01/23/05, 09/25/05). It was just the second time in team history that the Patriots played three road games against the same team in the same city in regular season or postseason play in less than a one-year span. The other occurrence was in 1985-86, when New England played the New York Jets three times in East Rutherford, N.J. (11/24/85, 12/28/85, 09/11/86). In that three-game span – just like in Pittsburgh – the Patriots lost the first game, then won the next two.