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Forgotten Games: Steelers Stun Tom Brady; End Patriots 21 Game Win Streak


Forgotten Games: Steelers Stun Tom Brady; End Patriots 21 Game Win Streak

The Pittsburgh Steelers and rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger were set to face the New England Patriots and Tom Brady back in 2004. Brady and his Patriots were fresh off their second Super Bowl victory in three seasons, and came to Heinz Field with a 6-0 record. Oh, and the Patriots had won 21 straight games, tying an NFL record.

So the Patriots had all of that going for them, and Pittsburgh was ready to rock with Roethlisberger, who was making only his fifth career start. He was boasting a 4-0 record though coming into this one.

Steelers Roethlisberger 2004

Ben Roethlisberger drops back to pass against New England in 2004. PHOTO/STEELERS.COM

The Steelers would receive the opening kick off and promptly go 3 and out. The drive included the Steelers gaining only four yards, and taking a false start penalty from Marvel Smith on third down. Thoughts of the 2001 AFC Championship loss had to of already started sinking into the minds of some. New England would move out to mid-field after a few passes from Brady. Then Troy Polamalu would get called for a personal foul face mask penalty and the Patriots were deep into Steelers territory just like that. The Steelers defense would hold though, and the Patriots would kick a field goal. It was 3-0 New England.

The Steelers second possession wasn’t any better than their first. They’d go three and out again. The Patriots would take over on their own 41-yard line after a 38-yard punt by Chris Gardocki. This time, the Steelers defense would stuff Brady and company, and they’d go 3 and out.

Now into their third possession, Roethlisberger would start to get the offense going. After two Duce Staley runs, Roethlisberger would convert the Steelers first third down of the game. Two plays later, Hines Ward would pull in a 21-yard reception and the Steelers were nearing mid-field. Two plays later, Roethlisberger would uncork a long one. Deep down the sidelines was Plaxico Burress who had gotten behind his man. He would pull in an easy 47-yard touchdown and Pittsburgh was in the lead. 7-3 Pittsburgh.

On the first play of the Patriots next possession, Joey Porter would strip-sack Brady, and Kimo Von Olehoffen would recover for Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh would take over on the Patriots 27-yard line. Four Staley runs in a row put the Steelers down to the 4-yard line. From there, Roethlisberger would throw a fade to Burress who would make an incredible catch for the touchdown. New England would challenge the play, but the touchdown would stand. 14-3 Pittsburgh.

Steelers Plaxico Burress Scores Against Patriots

Plaxico Burress hauls in a 4-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger

The Patriots were now in a position that they weren’t used to — they were down big. With Heinz Field already in a frenzy, Brady would bring the Patriots back out onto the field. Before they could even get a play off, they would take a false start penalty. On the next play, Brady would look down the sideline for Bethal Johnson, but instead Deshea Townsend would jump the route. And after he hauled in Brady’s pass, there was nothing but green grass in front of him. He’d return it 39-yards for the touchdown and Heinz Field was on fire. It was 21-3 and it was only the first quarter.

Deshea Townsend Intercepts Brady

Deshea Townsend celebrates in the end zone after returning a Tom Brady interception for a touchdown.

The fireworks would stop in the second quarter. Things would slow down with neither team doing much on offense. It is good to note that Ike Taylor would intercept Brady in the second quarter for his first career interception. The Steelers would be forced to kick a field goal from the 1-yard line after Roethlisberger was stopped a yard short of the end zone on third down.

With the score 24-3 and time dwindling in the second quarter, Brady and his offense would finally get moving. A 41-yard kick off return set the Patriots up with good field position and they’d take advantage. Brady would throw 6 straight passes, and on the 7th, he would find David Givens for a 2-yard touchdown.



The second half wouldn’t be any easier for Brady. On the first play of the half, Brady would throw a pass to running back Kevin Faulk, and Faulk would cough it up. Porter had his second strip of the game, and Aaron Smith would recover it and stumble down to the Patriots 17-yard line. A few plays later, Roethlisberger would find Burress for a 12-yard gain down to the 2. Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis would take it in from 2-yards out and this one was getting out of hand. 31-10 Pittsburgh.

Steelers Ben Roethlisberger

Steelers Ben Roethlisberger gets ready to head back onto the field.

New England and Pittsburgh would both trade field goals to finish out the third quarter. With 9:47 left in the fourth quarter, Brady and company would try to rack up some statistics. Brady would put together a 3-minute drive for a touchdown that started at his own 14-yard line. That would cut the Steelers lead to 34-20.

Roethlisberger and Bettis would slam the door shut after that. Taking over with 6:27 left in the game, Pittsburgh would run the entire clock out. The game would end with Roethlisberger taking 3 consecutive kneel downs. 34-20 would be the final.



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The Steelers have always been a central part of my life. I grew up listening to WDVE tapes recorded off of the radio of Steelers fight songs, and wearing Steelers jerseys as a fashion statement. I joined the message board when I was 12, and this site has been a big part of my life ever since. I’ve found life long friends and met some of the best people on earth through this site. In 2015, I was able to help revive the site and develop a news website and all of our social media platforms. I can’t wait to continue to grow with all of you. Go Steelers!

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  1. Pingback: Dawn Of A New Era: Steelers-Patriots Rivalry Begins Post Brady And Ben In 2022 -

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