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Replay: Patriots Postgame Show Mon Sep 20 | 12:00 AM - 08:55 AM

Pats vs. Steelers Pre-Game Notes

SERIES HISTORY

The Patriots and Steelers will renew acquaintances this week in the 20th overall meeting between the clubs. The two teams have met frequently in the playoffs in recent years, clashing three times in the postseason since 1997. New England won two of those three playoff contests, including a 24-17 upset win at Heinz Field in the 2001 AFC Championship Game as part of New England's first Super Bowl run. The teams followed up on that memorable matchup in the grand opening of Gillette Stadium to open the 2002 season, with the Patriots breaking in their new home with 30-14 win on Monday Night Football. This week's matchup will be the eighth meeting between the two teams in the last 10 years, and the Patriots have won four of the last six meetings, including the last three in a row. Of the previous 19 games in the series, 13 have been played in Pittsburgh, where the Steelers own an 8-5 advantage. New England, however, won the only meeting at Heinz Field in the 2001 AFC Championship Game.

PASSING PERFORMANCES

Tom Brady is 2-0 as a starter against Pittsburgh, helping lead New England to victories in the 2001 playoffs and in the 2002 season opener. In the 2001 AFC Championship Game, Brady was the team's leading passer, completing 12 of 18 tosses for 115 yards before leaving the game late in the second quarter with an injury.

PASSING PERFORMANCES

Tom Brady is 2-0 as a starter against Pittsburgh, helping lead New England to victories in the 2001 playoffs and in the 2002 season opener. In the 2001 AFC Championship Game, Brady was the team's leading passer, completing 12 of 18 tosses for 115 yards before leaving the game late in the second quarter with an injury.

THIS WEEK IN PATRIOTS HISTORY

OCTOBER 25 - OCTOBER 31

Oct. 26, 1986 - The Patriots beat the Bills on the road, 23-3. The game followed a 34-0 win at Pittsburgh, finishing a two-game road swing where the Patriots outscored their opponents 57-3.

Oct. 29, 1978 - The Patriots beat the New York Jets 55-21, recording the second-highest points output in team history. The following season, New England set the team record for points in a game in a 56-3 win over the Jets.

Oct. 30, 1966 - Jim Nance ran for 208 yards on 38 attempts in a 24-21 win over Oakland at B.U. Field. It was the first of two 200-yard rushing performances in franchise history.

PATRIOTS ON HALLOWEEN

The Patriots will play a game on Halloween for the first time since 1999 and for the seventh time in franchise history. All of the games (including this week) have been on the road. New England won its most recent Halloween game, a 27-3 victory over the Cardinals in Arizona. The day has also produced some scary results for the Patriots, as they hold an overall record of 2-4 on All Hallow's Eve.

CONNECTIONS

  • The Patriots played their inaugural game in Gillette Stadium against Pittsburgh on Sept. 9, 2002.
  • Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel played in 51 games with the Steelers from 1997-2000. He totaled 43 tackles, including seven sacks while with the Steelers.
  • Patriots cornerback Ty Law was born in Aliquippa, Pa. He was a tailback, cornerback, safety, wide receiver and return specialist and helped lead Aliquippa High to the Class AA state title as a senior.
  • Patriots running back Kevin Faulk played with Steelers guard Alan Faneca at Louisiana State (1995-97).
  • Patriots defensive lineman Richard Seymour, Steelers receiver Hines Ward and Steelers linebacker Kendrell Bell were teammates at Georgia.
  • Steelers linebacker James Farrior was coached by Bill Belichick and Romeo Crennel in New York from 1997-1999.
  • Patriots center Dan Koppen and Steelers quarterback Brian St. Pierre were on the same offensive unit at Boston College.
  • Patriots punter Josh Miller played for the Steelers for eight years, from 1996-2003, accumulating 24,340 yards on 574 punts.
  • Former Patriots practice squad member Russell Stuvaints is now on the Steelers active roster at strong safety.
  • Patriots receiver Deion Branch hauled in his first career touchdown pass, a 22-yard strike from Tom Brady, against the Steelers in his NFL debut on Sept. 9, 2002.
  • Patriots tight end Christian Fauria recorded his first touchdown as a Patriot against the Steelers on Sept. 9, 2002.
  • Steelers linebacker Larry Foote and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady played together at the University of Michigan.
  • Patriots rookie receiver P.K. Sam, Steelers safety Chris Hope and Steelers linebacker Alonzo Jackson played together at Florida State.
  • Steelers running back Jerome Bettis and Patriots linebacker Roman Phifer were teammates on the St. Louis Rams in 1993 and 1994.
  • Steelers quarterbacks coach Mark Whipple was the head coach at UMass from 1998-2003 where he won a Division I-AA national title in 1998.
  • Steelers defensive backs coach Darren Perry was the secondary coach of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2002 when Patriots running back Corey Dillon was on the team.
  • Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau was Corey Dillon's head coach at the Cincinnati Bengals from 2000-2002.
  • Patriots linebacker Roman Phifer and Steelers linebacker James Farrior were on the same defensive unit with the New York Jets in 1999 and 2000.

BROKEN RECORD

The Patriots have recorded a one-game winning streak 21 consecutive times, setting an all-time record for the 85-year history of pro football. Using their game-by-game, week-by-week approach to remain focused, the Patriots have not lost a game in more than a year. The last time the Patriots did not walk off the field victorious was on Sept. 28, 2003, when they dropped a 20-17 decision on the road to Washington.

THE STREAK: BY THE NUMBERS

398

The number of days since the Patriots suffered their last loss, as of Oct. 31.

310

The number of NFL games that have been played since the Patriots last lost a contest (including the postseason).

18-3

The Philadelphia Eagles' record over their last 21 regular-season and playoff games, ranking second behind the Patriots among NFL teams over their most recent 21-game span.

54

The number of touchdowns the Patriots have scored since they last lost a game (34 passing, 14 rushing, 6 on returns).

34

The number of touchdown passes Tom Brady has thrown during the winning streak.

408

The number of first downs registered by the Patriots during the winning streak.

1,358

The number of offensive plays the Patriots have run since the winning streak began.

1,366

The number of defensive plays the Patriots have run since the streak began.

1,442,237

The total attendance at the 21 games of the Patriots' winning streak.

9.0

The Patriots' average margin of victory during the streak.

THE KRAFT ERA

99

The number of regular-season victories the Patriots have recorded since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. With their next win, the Patriots will reach the 100-victory milestone in the Kraft Era.

110

The number of consecutive Patriots preseason, regular-season and postseason home games that have been sold out since Robert Kraft bought the team in 1994.

226

The number of consecutive Patriots games that have been televised locally.

78-34

The Patriots record at home since 1994, including preseason, regular-season and postseason games.

19-3

The Patriots' record at Gillette Stadium, including regular-season and postseason games (.864 win pct).

NOT HALF BAD

28

The number of consecutive regular-season and postseason games the Patriots have won when leading at halftime.

33-1

Their record in their last 34 games when leading at halftime.

32

The number of consecutive regular-season games the Patriots have won when leading after three quarters, leading the NFL.

SEVEN-PLUS SOLID SEASONS

114-65

The Patriots' record in preseason, regular-season and postseason games since 1996 (.637 win pct.).

83-51

The Patriots' regular-season record since 1996 (.619 win pct).

9-3

The Patriots' postseason record since 1996 (.750 win pct).

22-12

The Patriots' preseason record since 1996 (.647 win pct).

THE BELICHICK ERA

51-25

Bill Belichick's overall record as head coach of the Patriots, including the regular season and the playoffs.

.671

Belichick's overall winning percentage as Patriots head coach, establishing the highest winning percentage of any coach in franchise history, including postseason games.

35-2

Belichick's record in New England when his team scores 21 points or more.

TOMMY GUN

40-12

Tom Brady's record as a starting quarterback in the NFL in the regular season.

.769

Brady's winning percentage as a starter.

1

Brady's rank on the NFL's all-time winningest quarterbacks list during the Super Bowl Era (since 1966).

4

The number of quarterbacks in the Super Bowl Era who own a career regular-season winning percentage above .700 (Brady, Roger Staubach, Joe Montana, Donovan McNabb).

CONSECUTIVE STREAKS

21

The number of consecutive games, including playoffs, in which the Patriots have recorded at least one turnover.

15

The number of consecutive regular-season and postseason games the Patriots have won at Gillette Stadium, dating back to the 2002 season finale.

14

The number of consecutive games, including playoffs, in which the Patriots have scored first

12

The number of consecutive games, including playoffs, in which Tom Brady has thrown a touchdown pass.

11

The number of consecutive games the Patriots have won when they have had a 100-yard rusher, dating back to the 1999 season.

FIRST DOWN MACHINE

24

The number of catches David Givens has recorded this season, leading the team.

24

The number of first downs Givens has earned this season, as every one of his catches has gained first-down yardage.

SACK ATTACK

19.0

The number of sacks the Patriots have recorded this season through six games.

51.0

The number of sacks the Patriots are projected to record this season if they keep up their current pace.

41.0

The number of sacks the Patriots recorded in each of their Super Bowl seasons, 2001 and 2003.

10

The number of different players who have recorded at least one sack for the Patriots this season.

DILLON DOMINATES

637

The total number of rushing yards Corey Dillon has gained the first six games of the season.

642

The number of rushing yards Antowain Smith gained in the 2003 regular season, leading the team.

1,699

The projected number of yards Dillon could total in the 2004 season if he can keep up his current pace of 106.2 yards per game.

1,435

Dillon's career high single-season yardage total, accomplished in 2000 with the Cincinnati Bengals.

1,487

The Patriots' single-season rushing yardage record, set by Curtis Martin in 1995.

LAW AND ORDER

36

The number of career interceptions recorded by Ty Law, tying him with Raymond Clayborn for the all-time franchise record.

6

The number of interceptions Law has returned for a touchdown in the regular season, setting a team record.

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