PITTSBURGH - Tom Brady's intensity always runs high. But against the Steelers, he sometimes looks like he's about to pop a vessel. Last season, the Patriots came into Pittsburgh on November 14 with a 6-2 record. They were fresh off a sloppy and disturbing loss at Cleveland. Their road wins earlier in the season -- at Miami and at San Diego -- were not offensive masterpieces, and it seemed the same road flaws of 2009 were still alive and kicking. After scoring early to take a 7-0 lead in that Sunday night game, the offense bogged down. And Brady went off. Coincidence or not, they didn't lose another regular-season game after that and never scored fewer than 31 points. Brady put the jumper cambles to his offensive teammates that night and pushed them to reach another level. Sunday in Pittsburgh, Brady sees a similar situation developing where urgency is needed. Albert Breer of the NFL Network tweeted earlier Sunday that Brady told him the Patriots will learn about themselves today. "Its always a big game, Brady told Breer. And it always seems to be at this time of year, when you really find out what your team is. Well find out more about who we are as a team on Sunday.Despite the Patriots being 5-1 and Brady on a record pace in terms of passing yards, he's lamented missed opportunities and "plays left out there" after almost every game. The Steelers have a defense good enough to cause missed opportunities and an offense capable of making their opponents pay. With the Patriots coming off their bye, you can expect Brady to hit the field in Pittsburgh Sunday afternoon with extremely high expectations for success. And he'll be pretty agitated if what he learns about this team is that they aren't ready to go next level yet.
The Celtics have been .500 or better every month since last February, and it's the kind of run that speaks to their improvement.