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 injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Steelers game:
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
WR Danny Amendola (ankle)
TE Martellus Bennett (knee)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder)
WR Chris Hogan (thigh)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (knee)
DL Jabaal Sheard (knee)
TE Ladarius Green (concussion/illness)
LB James Harrison (shoulder/triceps)
RB Fitzgerald Toussaint (concussion)
RB Le'Veon Bell (not injury related)
K Chris Boswell (illness)
LB Anthony Chickillo (ankle)
S Sean Davis (shoulder)
C B.J. Finney (illness)
WR Darrius Heyward-Bay (illness)
DE Ricardo Mathews (ankle)
QB Zach Mettenberger (illness)
S Michael Mitchell (not injury related)
QB Ben Roethlisberger (not injury related)
LB Vince Williams (shoulder)
FOXBORO -- It seems as though Tom Brady might wish Donald Trump would stop telling everyone that they're such good pals.
On Thursday night, the soon-to-be 45th president of the United States said that Brady was "feeling good" and that Brady called him to congratulate him on the eve of his inaguration. On Friday afternoon, Brady looked uncomfortable at the mention of Trump's name during a press conference at Gillette Stadium.
When Brady was asked about Trump soon after the inauguration ceremony on Friday, he hesitated.
"I don't have much to say," said Brady.
Brady was then reminded that during a dinner for donors in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, Trump mentioned a recent phone call between them, when Brady expressed his support for the new president.
"Umm," Brady said. "Did I call him . . ."
"He said you did," a reporter replied.
"Oh," Brady said. "Let's talk about football."
In other words, as his coach would say, "We've got a big game."