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Patriots-Steelers Week 14 news, notes, and fun facts

Patriots 5th Quarter: Could it get even worse after Pats fall to 2-10
Patriots 5th Quarter: Could it get even worse after Pats fall to 2-10 01:37

FOXBORO -- The New England Patriots haven't been able to do anything productive on offense for the majority of the season. The Pittsburgh Steelers, while 7-5 on the year, are not that much better.

Like the Patriots, the Steelers have a talented defense. Unlike the Patriots, the Steelers do just enough on offense to make sure that defensive effort doesn't go to waste and they actually win their share of ballgames.

Now these two teams will meet up on short rest with their backup quarterbacks leading the charge. While the two defenses involved in the game may thrive, it's likely going to get downright ugly on offense.

That's nothing new for Patriots fans, who have had to endure five straight weeks of complete offensive ineptitude from New England. After getting shut out by the Chargers on Sunday, the Patriots own the NFL's worst offense, averaging a meager 12.3 points per game.

Again, the Steelers aren't that much better. They rank 28th in the league at 16.0 points per game. And their passing offense is statistically worse than New England's, averaging 179.6 yards per game (28th) to the Patriots' 186.8 yards per game (23rd). 

And on Thursday night, it will be Mitch Trubisky taking snaps for the Steelers over the injured Kenny Pickett, who suffered an ankle injury in Week 13. Pickett isn't all that great, but he's better than Trubisky.

So on this particular Thursday night, we'll get a Bailey Zappe-Mitch Trubisky showdown. Here's everything you need to know about the upcoming matchup.

Patriots vs. Steelers

-Thursday night will be the 35th time the Patriots and the Steelers face each other. Pittsburgh leads the series, 15-14, in the regular season, while New England owns a 4-1 edge in postseason meetings.

-The Patriots are 9-11 in road games in Pittsburgh during the regular season. They are 7-3 overall at Heinz Field/Acrisure Stadium, including a pair of AFC Championship Game victories. 

-The Patriots have won three of their last four meetings against the Steelers on the road, including a 17-14 win in Week 2 last season.

-The Patriots are 4-1 against the Steelers in prime time games: 1-1 on Monday Night Football, 2-0 on Sunday Night Football, and 1-0 on Thursday Night Football.

-The only Thursday night showdown between the two teams came when they kicked off the 2015 season. The Patriots beat the Steelers, 28-21, at Gillette Stadium after raising the team's Super Bowl XLIX championship banner.

-Only one of those prime time matchups came in Pittsburgh, which the Patriots won, 39-26, on a Sunday night during the 2010 season.

-Bill Belichick is 13-4 against the Steelers as head coach of the Patriots, and 16-12 overall.

Patriots-Steelers connections

-Receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster spent his first five NFL seasons with Pittsburgh after the Steelers drafted him in the second round (62nd overall) in 2017. He made the Pro Bowl in his second season in 2018, and caught 26 of his 30 career touchdowns during his time in Pittsburgh.

-The Patriots sign kicker Matthew Wright to their practice squad last week. Wright signed his first NFL contract with Pittsburgh in 2019 after he went undrafted out of Central Florida.-Patriots offensive line coach Adrian Klemm got his first NFL coaching job with the Steelers, serving as an assistant offensive line coach from 2019-20 before becoming the team's offensive line coach in 2021.

-Four members of the Steelers previously spent time with the Patriots: Defensive tackle Montravius Adams (2021), long snapper Christian Kuntz (2017), linebacker Elandon Roberts (2016-19), and safety Eric Rowe (2016-18). 

-The Steelers also added quarterback Trace McSorley to their practice squad this week after Pickett went down. McSorley spent the summer with New England and appeared in two preseason games for the Pats before being waived in August.

Everything else you should know about Patriots-Steelers in Week 14

-The Patriots' defense has allowed just 26 points over the last three games. The fewest points allowed by the Patriots over a four-game stretch is 26, which they accomplished over a four-game stretch during the 2021 season. 

-The Patriots enter Week 14 ranked eighth in the NFL in defensive yards allowed at 310.5 yards per game. The team has finished in the top 10 in defense 10 times under Belichick, including each of the last two seasons.

-The New England defense is allowing 21.2 points per game, which ranks 16th in the NFL. The Pittsburgh defense has allowed 19.1 points per game, ranking sixth in the league, but they do give up some big yards. The Steelers are surrendering 121 rushing yards (22nd) and 227.3 passing yards (19th) per game this season.

-The Patriots are stuck at 16 touchdowns, which is pretty terrible. But the Steelers have scored just 18 touchdowns (8 passing, 8 rushing, a fumble return, and an interception return) this season.

-All of New England's touchdowns have come on offense (10 passing scores, 6 rushing scores) with no defensive or special teams touchdowns yet this season.

-Trubisky is 0-2 in his career against the Patriots. He lost to New England as the starting QB of the Chicago Bears in 2018, 38-31, despite throwing two touchdowns and running for another. He also started against the Pats last season, losing 17-14 in Pittsburgh.

Trubisky has been sacked five times over his two games against New England, throwing three touchdowns and three interceptions.

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