PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers insist all is not lost, that their season remains salvageable.
If so, the winning needs to start in a place they rarely do against a quarterback they’ve never beaten on the road.
No big deal.
It’s only Tom Brady and the rebuilt on the fly yet somehow still formidable New England Patriots.
All due respect to the future Hall of Famer, Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley isn’t really concerned about who lines up in the backfield for the first-place Patriots (6-2) on Sunday.
Sure, playing in New England against a team that is finding ways to win isn’t ideal.
After an embarrassing loss to Oakland last weekend dropped Pittsburgh to 2-5, Woodley is more concerned about his own team’s significant issues than trying to explain why Brady has dominated the Steelers for more than a decade.
“We have to get back going,” Woodley said. “No matter who is back there, we have to eliminate the mistakes.”
Something that can be difficult when Brady is on the other side of the line of scrimmage. The 36-year-old is 6-2 against Pittsburgh in his career, including a 2-0 mark at home.
He’s thrown 16 touchdowns against three interceptions in those eight meetings while averaging 275 yards passing a game, and he’s done it while working with an ever-changing roster of receivers, from Troy Brown to Randy Moss to Wes Welker to Rob Gronkowski.
“They have turnover, and he still excels,” Steelers safety Ryan Clark said. “So, you kind of become desensitized to it. If you look at his career as a whole, especially early, he never had the big-name outside receiver. The one year that he had Randy Moss, he threw 50 touchdown passes.”
On the surface, Brady appears to be slumping, at least by his remarkable standards. His passer rating of 74.9 is 20 points below his career mark. He’s on pace to throw 18 touchdowns, his fewest since his breakout year in 2001.