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Steelers-Patriots halftime notes

PITTSBURGH -- The New England Patriots lead the Pittsburgh Steelers, 10-3, at intermission.

Here are some notes at halftime:

  • After getting pummeled by the Cleveland Browns in Week 9, you knew the Patriots would respond by playing more physical. New England had to hear all week how it played soft against Cleveland and have been hitting hard Sunday night in Pittsburgh. Steelers receiver Hines Ward took a shot to the side of the head that knocked him out of the game. They described it as a neck injury and his return is questionable.

  • New England's short passing game is hurting Pittsburgh. The Steelers have struggled defending the short and intermediate passes all year, which is the Patriots' specialty. Quarterback Tom Brady is avoiding the rush by getting rid of the ball quickly with short, accurate passes. He completed 17-of-25 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown in the first half.

  • Pittsburgh unveiled a rebuilt offensive line on the left side. Backup Jonathan Scott started at left tackle in place of the injured Max Starks, who is out for the season with a neck injury. Ramon Foster also started at left guard in place of injured starter Chris Kamoeatu (ankle, knee). The offensive line looked shaky in the first half. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was sacked three times and there hasn't been many holes in the running game.

  • The Steelers need to find a way to generate a pass rush. The blitzes aren't getting in quick enough and rushing three or four players gives Brady too much time. New England's pass protection in this game has been solid.