Steelers vs Patriots: 3 key matchups to watch in week one
Boston Cream Pie: Steelers Pass Rush vs Patriots Offensive Line
While Boston fans enjoy a sweet Boston cream pie, there is something I know Yinzers find to be sweeter: seeing Tom Brady hurried, harassed, and put on the ground. This is something that is much easier said than done.
Despite losing Trent Brown and Nate Solder in back-to-back years, long-time assistant Dante Scarnecchia continues to show he is second to only Mike Munchak as an offensive line guru. Remember that the Patriots brought him back after Tom Brady was harassed all afternoon in the AFC Championship Game vs the Broncos (Manning’s final year.)
Since then, Tom Brady has only been sacked an average of 23 times a season. The defensive front and secondary will have to play hand in hand on this match up.
If the secondary successfully plays tight man to man coverage Pittsburgh will be enable the pressure to build momentum. The pass rush will also help the secondary be in a position to take advantage of mistakes by the Patriots passing attack.
As Michael Strahan said in the 2007 Giant’s “America’s Game” episode, if you don’t put Brady on the ground, you’re not going to win. Last year, the Steelers pass rush got great push up the middle and forced mistakes by the entire offensive unit—multiple pre-snap penalties, holding penalties, and a costly Red Zone interception.
This go-around, the Patriots will have plenty of film on the Steelers front 7, as they are returning 6 starters from last season. The match ups on the edges with the rotation of outside linebackers will be key. The Steelers will have to put pressure in Brady’s face as often as possible.