Since safety Mike Mitchell signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2014, the team has played the New England Patriots a total of three times and lost all three matchups. Because of that, Mitchell was asked Wednesday on ‘Good Morning Football’ if he feels haunted by the Patriots and how he currently feels about the defending Super Bowl champions ahead of the 2017 season.
“I just think that they’re a very good football team,” Mitchell said. “I have a very healthy respect for them. They have a bunch of Hall of Fame caliber players, they have a Hall of Fame caliber quarterback and a Hall of Fame caliber coach – very, very, very good football team. I think we beat a lot of people off our physicality and they beat up a lot of people off of discipline so I admire that about them. We have to match that discipline and still keep our physicality and we’ll see how it goes the next time around.”
The next time around for Mitchell and the Steelers against the Patriots will be in Week 15 of the 2017 regular season in a game that will be played at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. Mitchell, by the way, has only been on the winning side of a game against the Patriots just once during his first eight seasons in the league and that was in 2013 as a member of the Carolina Panthers.
In that 24-20 Panthers win over the Patriots, quarterback Tom Brady still threw for 296 yards and a touchdown and he completed 72.5% of his pass attempts. He was, however, sacked twice in that game and threw an interception, which was irrelevant in the grand scheme of things as it came on the last play of the game.
Perhaps one the biggest plays in that game was Patriots running back Stevan Ridley fumbling inside the red zone early in the second quarter and the Panthers eventually converted that turnover into a field goal. The Panthers, by the way, didn’t turn the football over in that game and that’s almost always prerequisite for any team hoping to beat the Patriots.
So, does Mitchell currently consider the Patriots as being one of the Steelers primary nemesis? You bet he does.
“Obviously, the three teams that jump out the most would be Baltimore, Cincinnati and New England,” Mitchell said. “New England, because we haven’t been able to beat them since I’ve been here and that’s who keeps winning the AFC and winning Super Bowls. And so, we need to put a stop to that, soon. But then obviously in our division we have two very tough rivalries in Baltimore and Cincinnati.”
I his three games against the Patriots as a member of the Steelers, Mitchell has registered 13 total tackles and a forced fumble.
If the 2017 season plays out like many think it will, Mitchell and the Steelers will play the Patriots twice prior to the Super Bowl taking place with the second of two meetings likely being a rematch of last years AFC Championship game.