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AT A GLANCE \ Steelers vs. Patriots



Published: Fri, January 21, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



When: 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

TV/radio: (27) (19) (2) (WBBG-FM 106.1), (WBBW-AM 1240)

Series history: Steelers lead 13-7 overall. Patriots lead 2-1 in playoffs. (Last meeting -- Steelers beat Patriots 34-20 on Oct. 31, 2004, at Pittsburgh)

Last postseason meeting: Patriots beat Steelers 24-17 on Jan. 27, 2002, in AFC Championship Game at Pittsburgh.

Key matchup: Steelers LG Alan Faneca vs. Patriots DTs Jarvis Green or Richard Seymour. Steelers had AFC's top running game in regular season, averaging 154 yards per game, and Faneca is one of the reasons. He anchors a solid offensive line that excels at run blocking. Steelers topped NFL with 618 carries this season, nearly twice their total passes (358, fewest in NFL). Their offense depends on the holes Faneca and fellow first-team All-Pro C Jeff Hartings open up. Seymour, also a first-team All-Pro, missed last week's game with knee injury and Green took his place. Seymour didn't practice Wednesday because of a sore knee and is listed as questionable.

Streaks, stats and notes: Patriots are 4-0 in AFC Championship games. Steelers are 5-6. ... Steelers host NFL-record ninth conference title game. 49ers have hosted eight. ... Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger was unanimous AP Offensive Rookie of the Year. Since replacing injured Tommy Maddox in Week 2, Steelers have won all 14 of his starts (he sat in Week 17). In his rookie season in 2000, Patriots QB Tom Brady completed one pass. The following year he replaced injured Drew Bledsoe in Week 2 and led Patriots to 14-3 record in his starts and a Super Bowl title. ... New England RB Corey Dillon missed the Patriots' loss at Pittsburgh with thigh injury and Patriots gained only five yards rushing. He finished season with 1,635 yards rushing, second most in AFC. ... Both QBs had good regular-season passer ratings (98.1 for Roethlisberger, 92.6 for Brady), but are prone to throw INTs on occasion. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Brady had a 3.0 INT percentage in the regular season, placing 16th out of 33 regular NFL QBs. Roethlisberger had 3.7 INT percentage, ranking 25th out of 33. ... Teams have combined 31 wins, tying record for most in a conference title game (Minnesota 16, Atlanta 15 in 1998 NFC game). ... Against common opponents, Patriots are 8-1, Steelers 9-1 including playoffs. ... Including regular season and playoffs, Patriots have plus-12 turnover differential. Steelers are plus-9.

Associated Press

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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