The Depressingly Short List Of Times The Steelers Beat Tom Brady


(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Pittsburgh City Paper)

Steelers cornerback Joe Haden intercepts a throw by Tom Brady on December 16th, 2018. He was the last Steeler to intercept Brady in his career. Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham

With Tom Brady looking to be officially retired this time, teams across the NFL can rejoice in finally having his dominant reign against them end. 

Over the course of his 23 year, two-team NFL career, Brady played against every single team at least once, and has a .500 or better record in the regular season against every single NFL team. While some teams, like the New York Jets (whom Brady beat 30 times) were terrorized far more often than others, the Steelers were certainly the victims of Brady numerous times as well.

Brady had an overall 12-4 record (regular and postseason) against Pittsburgh during his career, and frequently bested Steelers teams no matter what Pittsburgh’s situation was. He dominated this franchise for the better part of two decades. 

But what about those 4 losses? What about the depressingly few amount of times that the Steelers actually got the best of Brady?

Indulge me, and Steelers Nation, for a moment, as we relive the 4 times the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated Tom Brady:

October 31st, 2004 – Steelers 34, Patriots 20

Our first game took place almost 20 years ago, in case you needed a reason to feel old. Heinz Field was in its infancy when the Steelers and Patriots met on a beautiful 64 degree Halloween Day. 

Plaxico Burress catches a pass against the Patriots. Photo Credit: John Bohn

The defending Super Bowl champion Patriots had come into Pittsburgh at 6-0 on the season and on a TWENTY ONE game win streak that had started back in 2003. Brady looked to improve to 3-0 against the Steelers, who were coming off their bye week.

Pittsburgh, for their part, was having an incredible season as well. After split results in Weeks 1 and 2, the Steelers had won 3 straight games, and that Week 2 loss in Baltimore would end up being the only regular season loss the Steelers would suffer all season, riding an incredible 13 game win streak to end the season on the performance of rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. 

As for the game itself, the Patriots had kicked off the scoring, jumping out to a 3-0 lead, but things would soon collapse for them. 

After two three-and-outs, the Steelers quickly marched down the field on their third drive of the game, capping it off with a 47 yard touchdown pass from Ben to Plaxico Burress. 

On the ensuing New England drive, Joey Porter forced a Brady fumble, and the Steelers recovered. Burress caught his second touchdown pass of the game, and after a New England challenge, the play stood, and the Steelers were up 14-3. 

Ben Roethlisberger looks for a receiver. Photo Credit:

But the fun was not over for Pittsburgh. On the very next New England snap, Brady was picked off by Deshea Townsend, who returned the interception for a touchdown to put Pittsburgh up 21-3 at the end of the first quarter. A field goal by Pittsburgh and a touchdown by New England put the score at 24-10 at halftime, and the Patriots just couldn’t get a rhythm going until it was too late. 

Out of the third quarter, Joey Porter forced another fumble, this time knocking the ball out of the hands of Kevil Faulk, and Pittsburgh recovered it. Off the turnover, the Steelers made quick work of the short field, as Jerome Bettis ran it into the endzone to make it 31-10 Steelers. The teams would trade field goals later in the third quarter, and the Patriots would find the endzone in the fourth, but it was too little too late, and the game ended 34-20 for the Steelers. 

It was a massive win for the Steel City, but to put a damper on this game, Brady would get his revenge in the postseason, when he and the Patriots beat the Steelers 41-27 en route to another Super Bowl.

October 30th, 2011 – Steelers 25, Patriots 17

It would take a day shy of seven years (and four meetings between them) before the Steelers would beat Brady again, this time doing so in Week 9 of the 2011 NFL season. 

Emmanuel Sanders celebrates a first down. Photo Credit: Gregory Shamus

Much like last time, the Steelers were on a three game win streak, and the Patriots were, as always, a very challenging opponent. Veteran wide receiver Hines Ward was out with an injury, but the young guns of Antonio Brown, Mike Wallace, and Emmanuel Sanders stepped up in his absence.

The game started off well for the Steelers, with a touchdown and field goal on their first two drives of the game, while the Patriots were forced to punt on each of their first two drives. 

But things would get a little rocky fast. 

On Pittsburgh’s third drive of the game, Roethlisberger was picked off deep in Steelers territory, and Brady threw a touchdown pass on the second New England snap post-interception to make the game 10-7. 

Ben and the Steelers would soon get back on track, however, with their next drive ending in a touchdown throw to second-year wide receiver Antonio Brown to put the Steelers back up by 10. 

The Patriots would sneak a field goal in before halftime, putting the score at 17-10 to start the third quarter. Steelers kicker Shawn Suisham would make back to back field goals to increase Pittsburgh’s lead, but Brady wasn’t quite out of his yet, throwing a touchdown pass to make it 23-17. 

Tom Brady attempts to evade a tackle. Photo Credit:

With just a few minutes left to go, the Steelers needed to just keep the ball moving and eventually run out the clock, but Ben gets sacked back to back times, pushing Pittsburgh out of field goal range and forcing them to punt. 

With under a minute left to go, Brady needed to stage an epic comeback to win the game, but Brett Keisel made sure that didn’t happen, sacking Brady on the first play of the drive and forcing him to fumble. The ball trickled into the endzone and was recovered for a safety, giving Pittsburgh 2 points and seconds later, a win. 

And if you thought the wait between the first and second game was long, the next wait was even longer.

December 16th, 2018 – Steeelers 17, Patriots 10

Allow me to properly set the stage for this game.

The drama-ridden Steelers are in a tailspin. Their playoff hopes are now in jeopardy. After starting the 2018 season 7-2-1, the Steelers have lost three straight games, including coming off a deeply embarrassing loss to the 2-10 Oakland Raiders the previous week. Fans are panicking, sports media is fueling speculation, and Steelers legends like Rocky Bleier are openly ripping the team. 

The Steelers have no Le’Veon Bell, absent for the whole season due to his very public contract holdout. His backup turned starter James Conner is out with an ankle injury, which leaves the Steelers with a duo of 2018 5th round pick Jaylen Samuels, a tight end recently converted to running back, and former Patriot Stevan Ridley. 

Jaylen Samuels rushes up the field. Photo Credit: Joe Sargent

The Steelers defense has fallen apart three straight weeks to lose games. The Antonio Brown situation is getting rapidly worse, and if things weren’t bad enough, it was reported that Ben had suffered cracked ribs in the Oakland loss, although he denied that rumor. 

The situation could not be more dire, and all of this culminated for a game against the 9-4 Tom Brady and New England Patriots, just one year removed from the Jesse James game in 2017

The Steelers brought in several new personnel to try and right the ship, including bringing in former Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham to try and help coach Chris Boswell, who was having a nightmare of a 2018 season. 

Pittsburgh also acquired a “Patriot whisperer” if you will, bringing in linebackers coach Jim Herrmann to work with their defense in the week before the Patriots game. Herrmann was the linebackers coach of the New York Giants in 2011, when the Giants beat Brady and the Patriots twice in one season. 

At 7-5-1, this was the very definition of a must win game for the Steelers.

The Steelers started the game with an opening drive touchdown, putting them up 7-0. But the Patriots would strike back on their own first drive, with Tom Brady throwing a deep ball to Chris Hogan, who might have been the most open receiver I’ve ever seen in my life. 

Early in the second quarter, Ben tried a deep pass that went incomplete to Eli Rogers, but a pass interference penalty on the play set up the Steelers for a touchdown throw to Antonio Brown, who unbeknownst to him and the team, was playing his second to last game as a Steeler. 

The Steelers force New England to punt, and after marching down the field looking like they can go up 21-7, Ben’s pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster gets intercepted by Duron Harmon, his first of two picks on the night, and the teams then exchange punts to end the first half 14-7 for Pittsburgh. 

In the third quarter, a missed Boswell kick leaves it a one score game as the Patriots start pushing back Pittsburgh’s defense, and a pass interference on Joe Haden keeps the drive going and allows the Patriots to make it 14-10. 

JuJu Smith-Schuster stiff arms a defender. Photo Credit: Don Wright/AP

Haden would see redemption, however, intercepting Tom Brady deep in Steeler territory to stop a dangerous New England drive and help set up a 48 yard Boswell field goal with under three minutes to go in the game. 

The kick was massive, especially given that Boswell had come into the game leading the NFL in missed kicks, and was only 3/8 on kicks between 40 and 49 yards at the time of the kick. 

Brady’s offense starts to march back down the field, but after three awful weeks, the Steeler defense stalls New England’s last gasp drive, and Pittsburgh holds on to win it 17-10.

Jaylen Samuels had the game of his life, routinely torching New England’s defense for 142 yards on 19 carries, both of which are still career highs. 

Ridley rushed only 3 times for 16 yards, but did have a big run up the middle for 12 yards to get the Steelers off of their own 1 yard line. While not the most prominent role in the game, he did ultimately get some revenge on the team that let him go in 2014. 

The loss was shocking for New England, who had taken 14 penalties in the game (most since 2014), suffered back to back December losses (first time since 2002), and after the loss couldn’t finish the season 12-4 or better (first time since 2009). 

Time for some quick shameless self-promotion: if you want to see more about the chaotic mess that were the 2018 Steelers, you can do so here.

October 16, 2022 – Steelers 20, Buccaneers 18

The fourth and final game on this list saw the duo of Kenny Pickett and Mitch Trubisky team up to defeat Brady, who was playing his only game against the Steelers as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Steelers, similarly to 2018, came into this game against Brady on a big time losing streak. After an unforgettable Week 1 win in Cincinnati against the Bengals, the Steelers had lost 4 straight, including a world-rocking 35-point blowout loss in Buffalo, which was the Steelers worst loss since 1989

Pittsburgh’s defense was injured, missing star safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, star linebacker TJ Watt, and their top three cornerbacks Cam Sutton, Levi Wallace, and Akhello Witherspoon. Tight end Pat Freiermuth was also out. 

Steven Sims during his 89 yard kickoff return. Photo Credit: Post-Gazette

The Steelers started off the game strong, forcing Brady and the Buccaneers to a quick three-and-out and a punt. On the Steelers’ first chance with the ball, rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett led a 12 play drive, capping it off with a touchdown pass to Najee Harris, the first touchdown pass of Pickett’s young career. 

Tampa Bay  would answer back with a field goal to cut the lead to 7-3, and on their next drive were able to make it 7-6. 

Chris Boswell (just barely) knocked home a 55 yard field goal to put Pittsburgh up 4 with just a few minutes left in the first half, but after some bad play calling and time management, Tampa got the ball back and were able to kick yet another field goal, and went into the half down only 1. 

On the opening kickoff of the second half, Steelers returner Steven Sims ran the kick back for an electrifying 89 yards, sending the Pittsburgh home crowd into a frenzy, but the Steelers were unable to take advantage of the amazing field position and had to settle for a Boswell kick, and the Buccaneers respond with…you guessed it, another field goal. 

On the Steelers next drive, Kenny Pickett was shoved to the ground, knocking his head on the field and looking visibly shaken up after the hit. He was taken out, meaning backup Mitch Trubisky, who was benched in Week 4 in favor of the rookie Pickett, had to come in and save the game. Pickett was 11/18 but for only 67 yards when he left the game. 

Trubisky came in and almost immediately threw a 16 yard bullet to Chase Claypool to keep the offense on the field, but the drive soon afterwards stalled and the Steelers were forced to punt. 

After back and forth punts, the Steelers once again found their rhythm, highlighted by a 45 yard catch and run by Connor Heyward as the Buccaneers were scrambling to fix their defensive personnel. Two plays later, Trubisky would throw a touchdown pass to Claypool, and the Steelers extended their lead 20-12. 

But Brady wasn’t going to go down easy. He led Tampa on a touchdown drive of their own that saw the Buccaneers convert on multiple 4th down situations. But the Buccaneers needed a two point conversion to tie the game, and the pass attempt was batted down by Devin Bush to keep the Steelers ahead by 2.

Tom Brady and Mitch Trubisky shake hands after the game. Photo Credit: Joe Sargent

Trubisky did the rest, keeping the Steelers offense on the field and killing the clock all the way down to zeros. 

Trubisky went 9/12 for 144 yards and a touchdown during his quarter and a half of action. It was the best he ever looked as a Steeler. 

Chase Claypool had his best game of the season, catching 7 passes for 96 yards and a touchdown, and helped Trubisky out by catching two crucial third and long passes at the end of the game to help solidify the win. 

It was the last win that Claypool would be a part of in 2022, as the Steelers lost their next two, then traded Claypool to the Chicago Bears, who lost their last 9 remaining games that Claypool was with them for.