Why This Patriots-Steelers Game Is Unprecedented In Bill Belichick Era

'It's been a while'


September 14

FOXBORO, Mass. — When the Patriots and Steelers renew their rivalry this weekend, they’ll be doing so after an abnormally long break.

New England’s visit to Pittsburgh on Sunday will occur just over three years since the last time Bill Belichick and Mike Tomlin’s teams last squared off. The most recent Patriots-Steelers game occurred in September of 2019, when New England earned a 33-3 home victory. Josh Gordon and Phillip Dorsett combined for three receiving touchdowns that day, with Stephen Gostkowski going 4-for-4 on field goals. Tom Brady racked up 341 yards and three touchdown passes.

So, yeah, it was a while ago. And much has changed for both teams, most notably the departures of Brady and ex-Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

In fact, Sunday’s game will mark the first time during the Belichick era that the Patriots will face the Steelers without having played them in the previous two seasons.

Belichick addressed the long layoff ahead of Wednesday’s practice in New England.

“I can’t remember the last time we’ve gone three years without playing the Steelers,” he said. “It seems like it’s been — a team we use to play every year. But, obviously, it’s been a little while. Some definite changes since the last time we saw them.”

For those interested, here are all the Patriots-Steelers matchups during the Belichick era, via The Football Database:

Games between Pittsburgh and New England typically carry plenty of intrigue, and Sunday’s mathcup at Acrisure Stadium is no diffrent.

The Steelers are coming off a thrilling season-opening victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, while the Patriots will be looking to get in the win column after an ugly Week 1 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

A top priority for New England: slowing down the talented Steelers passing game, which remains dangerous despite Mitch Trubisky being at quarterback.

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