There is no denying it, the Pittsburgh Steelers are going up against one of the greatest dynasties not only in the NFL but in the entire world of sports this Sunday. Since Tom Brady has taken the reigns in 2001, the New England Patriots have made it to the Super Bowl nine times and have reached the AFC Championship game 13 times. Luckily for the Steelers, that will not matter much this Sunday.
The Patriots are known for all their late season brilliance, not for their September brilliance. That should be music to the ears of the Pittsburgh Steelers, as they have a chance to take game one from a possible sleeping giant.
While the Patriots are incredibly difficult to defeat in the months of January and February, they have picked up the moniker of slow starters over the last couple of seasons. Three times over the last five seasons, the Patriots have headed into the quarter mark of the season at 2-2.
It can be tough for any football team to pick up right where they left off. Rust forms over the offseason and with starters seemingly playing less and less in the preseason every year, it can take a bit to shake off the rust and get back into tempo. Over the course of his career, Brady has not looked like he has needed much time to shake off the rust as his numbers in week one are almost as impeccable as the rest of his career numbers.
Brady has played in 16 week one games and has compiled a 13-3 record with a quarterback rating of 98.1. He has also completed nearly 70-percent of his passes while throwing for 34 touchdowns to just 10 interceptions.
It would make sense to think the man with six Super Bowl victories would be immune to rust but believe it or not, Brady has shown signs of being human, even if it’s barely noticeable, since turning 36.
Brady has played in five week one contests since turning 36, and the Patriots are just 3-2 in those contests, with all three of the victories decided by seven points or less. In those five contests, Brady has only completed just 58.1-percent of his passes, with ten touchdowns and two interceptions, working out to an 88.7 passer rating.
While Brady may not be the quick starter that he once was, it will still likely take nothing less than perfection for the Steelers to march into Foxborough and beat the Super Bowl champions on their home turf. This means that Ben Roethlisberger, who is somewhat of a slow starter himself, must arrive in near midseason mode as well.
Roethlisberger has played seven week one contests on the road, compiling a 3-3-1 record. One big problem that has plagued Roethlisberger on the road is his carelessness with the football. The Steelers’ franchise quarterback has thrown ten interceptions while also fumbling seven times during those seven road contests.
The final result for this Sunday’s matchup will likely come down to the play of each quarterback. For Roethlisberger and Brady, that means that this game will likely boil down to which quarterback can shake off the rust first.