Final

Steelers 33

(9-3, 5-1 away)

Patriots 10

(7-5, 4-3 home)

Coverage: CBS

4:15 PM ET, November 30, 2008

Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA 

1 2 3 4 T
PIT 3 7 13 1033
NE 7 3 0 010

Top Performers

Passing: B. Roethlisberger (PIT) - 179 YDS, 2 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: W. Parker (PIT) - 16 CAR, 87 YDS

Receiving: H. Miller (PIT) - 4 REC, 60 YDS

Turnovers doom Cassel, Patriots against steady Steelers

ESPN.com news services

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Steelers snapped the Patriots' spell over them with a plan that has worked all season: knock 'em down, steal the ball and keep them from gaining yards.

Pittsburgh's top-ranked defense got rolling in the second half, leading the Steelers to a 33-10 win on a cold and rainy Sunday, only their second victory in eight games against New England.

Fast Facts

• The Steelers rallied with 30 unanswered points against the Patriots, marking the first time New England has allowed 30 straight points since the 2003 opener against the Bills.

• The Steelers won at Foxborough for the first time since Week 16 of the 1997 season.

• Ben Roethlisberger tied Otto Graham, Dan Marino and Tom Brady for the most wins by a quarterback in their first five seasons (48).

• Each of New England's five losses have come against AFC opponents.

-- ESPN research

• Rapid Reaction

"We heard a lot of talk about it being a rivalry," Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said. "It hasn't been much of a rivalry until you win some. That's what we talked about coming up here."

The Steelers outscored the Patriots 23-0 in the second half when they had all five of their takeaways and four of their five sacks and gave up 81 yards to a team that had gained more than 500 in each of its two previous games.

"They had to start passing the ball and we didn't have to sit back and try and guess what they were doing," said James Harrison, who sacked Matt Cassel twice, forcing fumbles. "We just pinned our ears back and went at them."

The Steelers (9-3) got two scoring passes from Ben Roethlisberger and four field goals from Jeff Reed and lead Baltimore by one game in the AFC North.

Curtain Call

Pittsburgh held Dallas to just 289 total yards on Sunday, marking the 13th straight game the Steelers defense has held an opponent under 300 yards in a contest. The streak is now the second-longest to start a season since the merger. Here's a look at the list:


Team Streak Season
Rams 14 1973
Steelers 13 2008
49ers 12 2007

The Patriots (7-5) gained only 267 yards and remained a game behind the New York Jets in the AFC East. They're tied with Miami in the division and trail Indianapolis and Baltimore by one game in the wild-card race.

"A couple of weeks ago, all the games became must wins," said Sammy Morris, who scored the Patriots' only touchdown. "Now it puts a little more emphasis on every game."

The Patriots beat the Steelers in two AFC championship games en route to two of their three Super Bowl titles this decade and dominated them 34-13 in Foxborough last season.

"Two different teams," said Hines Ward, who caught one scoring pass. "[Tom] Brady's out on their team. We're worried about the '08 Steelers not the '07 Steelers."

So are their opponents.

Pittsburgh hasn't allowed more than 290 yards in any game this season and held New England to one conversion on 13 third-down plays.

"The weather didn't matter," New England's Kevin Faulk said. "The turnovers were frustrating. You can't do that and win in this league."

Cassel was 19-for-39 for 169 yards and no touchdowns against Pittsburgh after throwing for at least 400 yards in his past two games. He lost his leading receiver when Wes Welker left late in the third quarter after being leveled by safety Ryan Clark. There was no update on Welker's condition.

Steelers New England Patriots

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Watch highlights from the Pittsburgh Steelers' 33-10 win over the New England Patriots.

Clark offered a quasi-apology after the game.

"They said don't leave your feet," Clark, quoted in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, said the officials told him. "If anybody watches the other games we played, I don't turn any of them down. It's not like I'm trying to be cheap. If anybody comes across, it's my job to tackle him, it's my job to hit him.

"The ball got tipped; he said I shouldn't have left my feet. But I don't really know how to control that. I talked to Kevin Faulk and some other guys, I told them I apologize. I couldn't find Welker after the game to tell him I wasn't trying to be dirty, it was just football."

Randy Moss dropped two passes while wide open, one of which would have gone for a touchdown in the final minute of the first half. Two plays later, Stephen Gostkowski missed a 27-yard field goal.

"Once you drop one ball, you drop another ball, it does start to affect you mentally," Moss said. "I didn't play good today. I'm not blaming it on the weather."

In the third quarter, Matthew Slater fumbled away a kickoff, setting up Roethlisberger's 11-yard scoring pass to Ward. Slater filled in for Ellis Hobbs, who sat out that play after suffering cramps.

Harrison forced fumbles by Cassel on his two sacks, which gave him 14 for the season. One led to Reed's 20-yard field goal that made it 23-10. Reed missed his kick after the other one.

"That's what we've come to expect from him," Tomlin said of Harrison.

Troy Polamalu's interception with 9:18 left led to Reed's 40-yard field goal. Then Lawrence Timmons returned another interception 89 yards, setting up Gary Russell's 1-yard touchdown run.

"It's not about Matt Cassel," the quarterback said. "It's about 11 guys on offense trying to get better and I could care less about" his game-by-game progress being stopped.

With more than five minutes left, most of the drenched fans had headed to the warmth of their cars. Some who remained waved yellow-and-black Terrible Towels.

New England scored first on Morris' 2-yard run after Mike Vrabel intercepted Roethlisberger's pass on Pittsburgh's second offensive play. Gostkowski's 29-yard field goal gave the Patriots a 10-3 lead before Roethlisberger's 19-yard scoring pass to Santonio Holmes with 1:55 left in the half.

Roethlisberger went 17-for-33 for 179 yards and one interception as the Steelers converted on 8-of-16 third downs and put up their third-highest scoring game of the season despite coming in ranked only 26th in yards gained.

But the defense was the difference.

"It was unbelievable," Roethlisberger said. "You just get to the sideline, put your coat on, your hat on, and, all of a sudden, you're ready to go back on the field."

Game notes


Harrison, with 14 sacks, and Woodley, with 11 1/2, set a club record for most combined sacks by two players. ... Faulk's 41-yard run was the third longest of his 10-year career. ... Both teams had 19 first downs, but the Steelers had an edge of 10 minutes, 10 seconds in time of possession.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
PIT
NE
1st Downs1919
Passing 1st downs
117
Rushing 1st downs
87
1st downs from penalties
05
3rd down efficiency
8-161-13
4th down efficiency
0-02-2
Total Plays6864
Total Yards333267
Yards per play4.94.2
Total Drives1312
Passing172145
Comp-Att
17-3319-39
Yards per pass
5.13.3
Interceptions thrown
12
Sacks-Yards Lost
1-75-24
Rushing161122
Rushing Attempts
3420
Yards per rush
4.76.1
Red Zone (Made-Att)3-61-4
Penalties8-886-45
Turnovers15
Fumbles lost
03
Interceptions thrown
12
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession35:0524:55

Passing Leaders

PITC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Roethlisberger17/331795.4211-7
NEC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Cassel19/391694.3025-24

Rushing Leaders

PITCARYDSAVGTDLG
Parker16875.4031
Moore12675.6020
NECARYDSAVGTDLG
Faulk67312.2041
Morris10454.5114

Receiving Leaders

PITRECYDSAVGTDLG
Miller46015.0021
Washington34113.7016
NERECYDSAVGTDLG
Faulk7486.9017
Moss44511.3027

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERPITNE
neTD12:03Sammy Morris 2 Yard Run (Stephen Gostkowski Kick is Good)
Drive info: 3 plays, 14 yds, 0:45
07
pitFG2:55Jeff Reed 20 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 11 plays, 62 yds, 5:48
37
SECOND QUARTERPITNE
neFG6:52Stephen Gostkowski 29 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 11 plays, 49 yds, 4:55
310
pitTD2:00Santonio Holmes 19 Yard Pass From Ben Roethlisberger (Jeff Reed Kick is Good)
Drive info: 9 plays, 63 yds, 4:53
1010
THIRD QUARTERPITNE
pitFG5:43Jeff Reed 25 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 14 plays, 79 yds, 6:53
1310
pitTD5:08Hines Ward 11 Yard Pass From Ben Roethlisberger (Jeff Reed Kick is Good)
Drive info: 2 plays, 8 yds, 0:35
2010
pitFG2:53Jeff Reed 20 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 5 plays, 25 yds, 2:01
2310
FOURTH QUARTERPITNE
pitFG5:48Jeff Reed 45 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 6 plays, 39 yds, 3:35
2610
pitTD2:48Gary Russell 1 Yard Run (Jeff Reed Kick is Good)
Drive info: 2 plays, 1 yds, 0:43
3310