They have exercised the demons.
For now at least.
A day before the 7th anniversary of the 2004 Halloween white wash of the New England Patriots, the Steelers Sunday flexed some muscle on both sides of the ball, finally stopping Tom Brady and New England in a hard fought 25-17 win.
The victory puts the Steelers at 6-2, still 1/2 game up on the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North. They also are the first AFC team with six wins. The Patriots fall to 5-2 and in a first place tie with the Buffalo Bills, who shutout the Washington Redskins in Toronto.
The Steelers dominated the game, much like the October 31st 2004 game in which they stopped the Patriots NFL record 21-game winning streak by winning 34-20.
This win was more impressive, as it came with the Steelers missing a number of key players, including James Harrison, James Farrior, and during the game they lost LB LaMarr Woodley, who had two sacks of Brady.
Ben Roethlisberger was 36-for-50 for 365 yards with two touchdowns and a pick that at the time allowed the Pats to get back in the game. They got to him during the game, as Roethlisberger was sacked five times.
Brady was for the most part held in check, as he ended the day 24=for-35 for 198 and two touchdowns. He got the Pats within 23-17 with 2:35 left when he hit Aaron Hernandez with a 1-yard TD.
Bill Belichick decided to go for an onside kick, despite having three timeouts. The kick didn’t go the needed 10 yards, and the Steelers ran it down to 19 seconds before punting.
On the first play, Brett Keisel got to Brady, and the ball ended up being slapped out of the end zone for a safety by Ziggy Hood to make it the final of 25-17.
Pittsburgh nearly doubled the time of possession, holding the ball for 39:22 to 20:38. Rashard Mendenahll ran for 70 yards, and overall the Steelers outgained New England 427 yards to 213.
Their physical style was too much for Brady and the Pats, as it was a hard hitting game, and the Steleers controlled both lines of scrimmage.
They also made clutch plays when needed, as they went 10-for-16 on 3rd down conversions, holding the Pats to just 3-of-10 in that stat.
The defensive backfield flew around to the ball, made tackles when they needed to, and never let the Pats play the wide open style they try to and seem to end up playing each week.
With a now four-game win streak under their belt, the Steelers will get ready for a huge prime-time Sunday night showdown with the Baltimore Ravens next Sunday at 8:20pm.