When it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers, it’s easy to gravitate towards preparing for that famed “Steel Curtain” defense.
But the Patriots might be better served this week by spending their time worrying about the Steelers offense.
Take Pittsbugh wide receiver Mike Wallace. New England has faced its fair share of lethal wideouts this season, but all of them pale in comparison to the 2011 version of Wallace. Through seven games, he’s come up with 735 yards and five touchdowns.
“He’s a big-play receiver,” coach Bill Belichick said. “He’s really fast. Nobody is going to catch him, so you have to be careful about how much space he gets when he catches the ball.
“I think he’s improved a lot from when we played them last year, just as a football player, his patience and route technique.”
And if it’s not Wallace you’re watching out for, it’s running back Rashard Mendenhall. Or tight end Heath Miller. Or veteran wideout Hines Ward.
“They utilize a lot of different personnel groups and different people within those groups, so they give you a lot of different looks and they have a lot of good players,” Belichick said.
It’s those players who’ve made Ben Roethlisberger so impressive of late.
He’s thrown for nine touchdowns in his last three games — including his best performance of the season in Sunday’s 32-20 win over the Cardinals, when he threw for 361 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
The rushing days of Jerome Bettis and Kordell Stewart are gone. Roethlisberger has proven that he can get it done through the air.
“Their offense has definitely changed with Roethlisberger, as it should relative to what they did with, let’s say, when Kordell Stewart was the quarterback,”?Belichick said.
“Two totally different type players.”