Week 15’s must-watch match-up is, without a doubt, the AFC battle between the 10-3 New England Patriots and the 11-2 Pittsburgh Steelers.
Sunday afternoon’s 4:25 p.m. kick-off will feature a Brady/Big Ben battle for the 10th time since Roethlisberger entered the NFL in 2004.
Here’s a quick look at the previous nine Pats-Steelers battles with these two quarterbacks on the field.
Ben Roethlisberger vs. Tom Brady:
Brady: 5 wins, Roethlisberger: 3 wins.
Oct. 31, 2004
Steelers 34, Patriots 20
The first time these two teams met, the rookie Roethlisberger was in the middle of the most impressive run from a rookie quarterback in NFL history. New England was riding a record-setting 21-game win streak, dating back to October of 2003. Big Ben stepped in and completed 18 of his 24 pass attempts for 196 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the streak-shattering 14-points victory.
Jan. 23, 2005 (postseason)
Patriots 41, Steelers 27
Tom Brady would have his revenge against Roethlisberger nearly three months after the rookie ended his record winning streak. In the AFC Championship game in Pittsburgh, Brady threw a pair of touchdowns to Deion Branch and David Givens while New England’s defense picked Roethlisberger off three times and forced a pair of fumbles in the 14-point win that sent New England to the Super Bowl.
Sept. 25, 2005
Patriots 23, Steelers 20
In Week 3 of the 2005 regular season — a year that would end with a Super Bowl championship for the second-year Roethlisberger — New England handed Pittsburgh one of its five losses on the year. Ben would be sacked four times by New England’s pass rush while Brady tossed for 372 yards (but zero touchdowns) against Pittsburgh’s pass defense. Placekicker Adam Vinatieri’s 43-yard field goal with seconds remaining in the game would be the difference in this one.
Dec. 9, 2007
Patriots 34, Steelers 13
This December win would come towards the tail-end of New England’s perfect 16-0 season in’ 07. New England’s passing attack was so dominant during this stretch, that all it took was 22 yards on the ground to knock off Pittsburgh and improve to 13-0 on the season. Brady threw for 399 yards and four touchdowns, with two of them going to Randy Moss from four and 63 yards out.
Nov. 14, 2010
Patriots 39, Steelers 26
In Week 10 of the 2010 NFL season, Brady extended his streak to four straight over Roethlisberger by tossing for 350 yards, 3 TD and zero INT. Roethlisberger threw for 387 yards and a trio of touchdowns of his own, but five New England sacks and over 100 yards on the ground helped New England pull out the 13-point primetime victory at Heinz Field.
Oct. 30, 2011
Steelers 25, Patriots 17
With the help of three Shaun Suisham field goals, Roethlisberger picked up his first win over Brady since his rookie season. Ben completed 36 of his 50 pass attempts for 365 yards, 2 TD and 1 INT in the win, but had a bit of help from his defense, as New England managed just 43 yards on the ground and put pressure on Brady for most of the game.
Nov. 3, 2013
Patriots 55, Steelers 31
Both quarterbacks had 400+ passing yards and four touchdowns threw the air in this high-scoring affair four years ago. But it was Brady and his near-perfect 151.8 QB rating who came out on top in this one, thanks in large part to New England’s 28-point fourth quarter. Holding a slim 27-24 lead after three quarters, New England out-scoring Pittsburgh 28-7 in the final 15 minutes of play. Brady threw a pair of touchdowns to Aaron Dobson (17 yards, 81 yards) and LeGarrette Blount and Stevan Ridley added rushing touchdowns in the 55-31 win. New England’s defense picked Ben off twice and sacked him five times.
Sept. 10, 2015
Patriots 28, Steelers 21
Brady opened the 2015 season on the right foot, throwing for 288 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions in a Week 1 win over Roethlisberger and the Steelers. In place of Le’Veon Bell, Steelers RB DeAngelo Williams ran for 127 yards and Will Johnson added a rushing touchdown for Pittsburgh but the Steelers were unable to win the turnover battle and Rob Gronkowski’s fourth-quarter touchdown reception put the game out of reach for Mike Tomlin’s crew.
Jan. 22, 2017 (postseason)
Patriots 36, Steelers 17
The most recent Pittsburgh/New England battle came in last season’s Conference Championship game. Though it was a close 17-9 battle at the half, New England turned on the burners and out-scored Pittsburgh 19-8 in the second half to put the game away. Brady was nearly mistake-free, completing 32 of his 42 passes for 384 yards, 3 touchdowns and zero interceptions. And we all know what happened two weeks later…..
This coming Sunday, Roethlisberger hopes his crew can change the momentum in the Ben/Brady rivalry and come away with his first win against Brady since October of 2011. In all,
Regular season: Brady 5, Roethlisberger 2
Postseason: Brady 2, Roethlisberger 0
((Note: Roethlisberger also played — and beat, 33-10 — the Patriots in 2008, but Matt Cassel was at quarterback during that Nov. 30 game as Brady missed the season with a torn ACL))
Photo: Getty Images