PITTSBURGH (AP) — Tom Brady, by his personal estimation, has confronted “lots” of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
By no means fairly like this.
And it is not simply Brady’s jersey that can be completely different this time round when he first steps onto the turf at Acrisure Stadium (previously Heinz Area) on Sunday as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It is also the crew on the opposite facet of the road of scrimmage.
The Ben Roethlisberger-led model of the Steelers that Brady performed so usually with a lot at stake throughout his future in New England is lengthy gone, changed by a gaggle that suffers bodily and mentally.
Dropping 4 straight video games and being on the improper facet of the franchise’s worst loss in 33 years – like Pittsburgh was final week in Buffalo – Will do this.
“When it is this dangerous on each degree, it begins with me,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin mentioned. “We need not search consolation as a result of there’s sufficient blame for everybody. We should be solution-oriented.
It has been powerful for Pittsburgh, even in the very best moments when Brady is on the opposing sideline.
Brady is 12-3 in his profession in opposition to Pittsburgh, with many wins coming in high-pressure circumstances with playoff seeding or seasons on the road. Not a lot this time. The Buccaneers (3-2) are looking for a rhythm after an uneven opener whereas the Steelers are merely looking for a reliable model of soccer.
“(The Steelers) have not performed like they’re able to taking part in in Buffalo,” Brady mentioned. “I am certain they’re going to be able to go.”
There is not any doubt that Brady can be, even at 45. Even with 321 profession begins beneath his belt. Even together with his private life make as a lot information lately as his skilled. Brady presently leads the NFL in ending, has thrown for seven touchdowns in opposition to one interception and stays maybe the very best resolution maker with the ball in his arms in league historical past.
“He is nonetheless Mr. Brady,” Pittsburgh inside linebacker Myles Jack mentioned. “He all the time does his factor. There’s a lot you possibly can present him as a result of he is seen just about each protection within the NFL since 1990.”
Jack jokes, however solely just a little. Brady has been within the league so lengthy that Steelers rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett wasn’t fairly 2 years previous when New England took a flyer on Brady within the sixth spherical of the 2000 draft.
Pickett will make his second profession begin on Sunday, nearly 320 — basically the equal of 20 full seasons — behind Brady.
“He is an absolute legend,” Pickett mentioned.
Do not anticipate Pickett to be starstruck. He confirmed loads of fight throughout an in any other case forgettable afternoon in Buffalo, going there with Payments defensive finish Shaq Lawson for what he thought of a success within the closing seconds of a blowout.
“No person can are available in right here and provides a giant speech that is going to show it round,” Pickett mentioned. “We have now to go produce on Sunday. There’s nothing I’ll inform you right here that is going to repair that. We have now to do it as gamers, as males.
Brady would not have it another approach.
“They’re going to problem us,” he mentioned. “They’re going to be wholesome. They’re going to be in the best place and they will win it for us.
HANDLE WITH CARE?
Pittsburgh’s move rush has basically evaporated with star exterior linebacker TJ Watt indefinitely. The Steelers have three sacks of their final 4 video games with Watt watching from the sideline.
So they don’t seem to be notably frightened about what would represent a tough passer penalty in opposition to Brady, who fired a vital flag from Atlanta’s Grady Jarrett. for a fairly innocuous shot finish of Tampa Bay’s victory final Sunday.
“We perceive the initiative that’s participant security, particularly at quarterback,” Tomlin mentioned. “If you happen to do not coach (the) line of defense with that in thoughts, you are not dwelling as much as your finish of the discount as a coach.”
THE IMPACT OF FOURNETTE
Whereas working backs battle to make an affect for Pittsburgh, that is not an issue for Tampa Bay. Brady made it a degree to include Leonard Fournette and rookie Rachaad White into the passing sport.
Fournette was focused a team-high 11 occasions and had a career-best 10 receptions for 83 yards in final Sunday’s 21-15 win over Atlanta and completed with each a dashing and receiving landing. White, a third-round choose from Nebraska, completed with three catches for 28 yards.
“When Lenny wants a break, we do not really feel like we’re shedding something by placing Rachaad in there,” coach Todd Bowles mentioned. “(White) is able to play once we put him in there. Tom trusts him. The (offensive line) trusts him. He can catch the ball, he blocks properly, he can run the ball. We have now no drawback integrating it. »
With 19 sacks in 5 video games, the Bucs rank third within the league behind the 49ers (21) and Cowboys (20). Eleven completely different gamers have at the very least one.
“Simply attending to quarterback is sweet irrespective of who it’s for us,” Bowles mentioned. “A variety of guys sacrifice themselves for different guys to play. This half has been good so far as crew soccer is worried.
AP Sports activities Author Fred Goodall in Tampa, Fla., contributed to this report.
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