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Steelers Dominate Patriots, Claim Top Spot In AFC With 25-17 Win

If you happened to have been working or were unable to watch the Pittsburgh Steelers Week 8 matchup with the New England Patriots for whatever reason, don't be fooled by the final score. The Steelers dominated the Patriots from start to finish on Sunday afternoon. This will be our postgame celebration thread, but a few quick talking points about the oh-so-gratifying victory:

  • The Steelers win was all about the impressive play of the defense. We'll get into the particulars of what Dick LeBeau's unit did well soon enough, but here's about all you need to know: the Patriots were averaging 30.8 points per game; on Sunday they scored 17. The Patriots were average over 420 yards of offense per game; on Sunday they amassed only 213, 67 of which came in garbage time when trailing by 13. AWESOME effort by every last man on defense. 
  • One ill-advised throw by Ben Roethlisberger led to New England's first touchdown of the game, but outside of that one interception inside Pittsburgh territory, Roethlisberger was pretty darn good. He, unsurprisingly, held on to the ball too long on several occasions which led to sacks, but all in all he was great on Sunday. Big Ben finished with 365 yards and 2 TDs on 36-of-50 passing. Brady meanwhile was 24-of-35 for 198 yards. 
  • Rashard Mendenhall made the most of his limited carries on Sunday, finishing with 70 yards on 13 carries. Nothing spectacular, but he had a number of positive runs on first and second down that kept Pittsburgh out of bad situations. 
  • Awesome work by the Steelers secondary, every last one of them. What a difference a year makes in that department. We'll get into that more this week, but a shout out to Ike Taylor, Keenan Lewis, William Gay, Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark and Cortez Allen for fine work all afternoon against the Pats' explosive offense. 
  • Even though he missed his final kick of the game, a 44-yard FG attempt that would have extended the lead to 16, Shaun Suisham made his first three kicks of the game, all of which were important in retaining the momentum that Pittsburgh had fought so hard to establish. 
  • The lone blemish on Pittsburgh's performance -- red zone performance. The Steelers crossed the New England 20 on five occasions but managed to punch it into the end zone just twice. More on that later, but needless to say, even just one more touchdown on those opportunities and this game is bordering on a blowout. 
One of the more satisfying regular season wins I can remember in quite some time. Outstanding preparation, execution and mental and physical toughness displayed by the Steelers. And for their efforts, sole possession of first place through eight weeks of the 2011 NFL season. 

Yes Sir! Go Steelers!