The Patriots and Steelers have played 26 times in the last forty years, featuring four playoff games that included two AFC Championship games.
Although the Steelers lead the overall series 15-11, the Patriots have won six of the last eight contests against Pittsburgh.
The following are the top 10 most notable games the Patriots played against the Black-and-Gold team from Pittsburgh since the two storied NFL franchises first met in 1972:
10 – Grogan leads a comeback against the Champs, Sept. 26, 1976
The Patriots trailed the defending Super Bowl Champion Steelers 20-9 midway through the third quarter on the road when Steve Grogan threw touchdowns to Russ Francis and Darryl Stingley, while also running for a score on their way to a 30-27 victory. The Week Three win helped the Patriots fly to an 11-3 record and the franchise’s first playoff berth since the 1963 season. It was also the first ever win against the Steelers.
|Steve Grogan playing against the Steelers in 1986.
9 – Shutout at Three River, Oct. 19, 1986
Steve Grogan threw for three touchdowns to three different receivers and Fred Marion had a 37-yard interception return for a touchdown as New England blanked the Steelers 34-0 at Three River Stadium in Pittsburgh. The Patriots also had five sacks in the game and the win sparked the team to their first ever AFC East Division title that season.
8 – Giving it away, Dec. 13, 1997
With the Patriots leading 21-13 late in the fourth quarter in this Week 15 matchup, New England looked to run out the clock for a chance to get home field advantage and a bye week going into the playoffs. When Drew Bledsoe took the snap on the Patriots 37-yard line, he spotted a wide open Dave Meggett in the left flat. However, standing between Bledsoe and Meggett was Steelers defensive lineman Kevin Henry. Instead of tossing the ball over Henry, Bledsoe threw the ball directly into Henry’s numbers. Henry returned the ball to the Patriots one-yard line. The Steelers eventually scored the tying touchdown and two-point conversion and won the game in overtime. Ironically, in the Divisional round of the playoffs that year, the Patriots had to travel to Pittsburgh only to lose 7-6.
7 – Halloween Disaster, Oct. 31, 2004
With the Patriots riding a 21-game win streak that started in 2003, the Steelers turned Heinz Field into a House of Halloween Horrors for New England. The Patriots were held to five rushing yards and made four turnovers in this 34-20 loss. To add injury to insult, the Patriots also lost All Pro cornerback Ty Law with a season ending foot injury to help end the streak with a thud.
|Randy Moss catches a pass against the Steelers in 2007.
6 – “Shut Your Mouth,” Dec. 9, 2007
Anthony Smith, a little-known Steelers defensive back guaranteed victory prior to the game. “We're going to win,” he said. “Yeah, I can guarantee a win.” Randy Moss did most of his talking on the field with a pair of touchdown passes and seven catches for 135 yards. Tom Brady also passed for 399 yards and four touchdowns. The Patriots won big, 34-13, with two of New England’s touchdowns thrown in Smith's direction, an obvious target of Brady.
5 – Gronk hits the scene, Nov. 14, 2010
Tom Brady hit rookie tight end Rob Gronkowski for three touchdowns crushing the Steelers 39-26 at Heinz Field. Brady threw for 350 yards and rushed for one while he taunted the Pittsburgh crowd in the end zone after he scored.
4 – First Night, Sept. 9, 2002
The Patriots christened the new Gillette Stadium by unveiling their first championship banner and by clobbering the Steelers 30-14 in the process. Tom Brady threw for 294 yards and three touchdowns to continue their Super Bowl celebration.
3 – The Fog Bowl at Foxboro Stadium, Jan. 5, 1997
During the Divisional round of the playoffs, fog blanketed Foxboro Stadium. Patriots’ rusher Curtis Martin sliced the Steelers’ defense for 166 yards on the ground and three touchdowns helping New England march to a 28-3 victory and an eventual trip to Super Bowl XXXI.
|Rodney Harrison returns an interception in AFC title game.
2 – 2004 AFC Title Game, Jan. 23, 2005
The Patriots intercepted Ben Roethlisberger three times, including one by safety Rodney Harrison he took to the house for an 87-yard pick-six to give the Patriots a 24-3 halftime lead. Tom Brady also completed 14 of 21 passes for 207 yards and two touchdowns as the Patriots advanced to Super Bowl XXXIX with a decisive 41-27 win at Heinz Field.
1 – 2001 AFC Title Game “Bledsoe’s Redemption,” Jan. 27, 2002
When quarterback Drew Bledsoe was severely injured in Week Two against the Jets, his backup, Tom Brady, would never relinquish the starting job back. When Brady went down with an ankle injury in the second quarter of the AFC Championship game in Pittsburgh that same year, Bledsoe was poised to make his swan song in New England a memorable one.
Bledsoe took over for the injured Brady like it was 1996, completing three passes to David Patten for 37 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown to give the Patriots a 14-3 halftime lead.
|Bledsoe in the 2001 AFC title game.
Bledsoe also had help from his friends. Troy Brown had eight receptions for 121 yards and he helped score two touchdowns on special teams, one on a blocked kick and another on a punt return. The defense also intercepted Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart twice in the fourth quarter to clinch a 24-17 victory as the Patriots were on route to their first Super Bowl Championship.
Kevin Saleeba is the senior editor and columnist for Patriots Insider. A former beat writer for local media, Kevin has extensive knowledge of the team and experience covering the Patriots. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinSaleeba