Good intentions:** Running the ball, especially giving Le'Veon Bell the ball to run with it, is always something Coach Mike Tomlin wants his offense to do in order to maintain balance. While Bell can do plenty in the offense, establishing him in the ground game is always a key.
Against the Dolphins last week the Steelers got away from the run, with Bell carrying the ball only 10 times for 53 yards in the 30-15 loss.
"That is our intention always," said Tomlin. "We lost our personality a little as that game unfolded because of the lack of possession or total number of snaps. That balance that you speak of is what we seek. We didn't establish a lot of rhythm in that ball game because of our inability to execute and convert third downs and we turned the ball over some, which has been uncharacteristic of us."
Run down: The Steelers allowed their first 100-yard rusher of the season against the Dolphins when Jay Ajayi rushed for 204 yards and two touchdowns. It was also the first time the Steelers allowed a 200 yard rusher in 16 years. Tomlin addressed the issues with the run defense, something time of possession played a role in.
"As the game wore on, we wore down," said Tomlin. "They had some explosion plays with balls that bounced to the perimeter. We have to do a good job of setting edges on our defense. Largely, if I had to summarize it in a nutshell, I thought we wore down as the game wore on and a lot of that had to do with the total number of snaps and the time of possession, or our lack of possession. We only had the ball for 23:30, they had the ball for 36:30, and they won the war of attrition because of it."
Brady bunch: The Steelers will go into Sunday's game without their starting quarterback as Ben Roethlisberger has been ruled out, but the New England Patriots will have Tom Brady, who missed the first four games of the season serving a league suspension but is back at it.
"Tom Brady is showing no ill effects of the time away," said Tomlin. "His accuracy is exceptional. His still vision is exceptional. One of the things that he is really doing well, and often gets overlooked, is his ability to extend plays when the ball doesn't come out on rhythm. He moves around, he finds eligibles. He stretches the field both horizontally and vertically in those moments.
"That has produced a lot of big plays for them. We've got to be really good as he starts to do those things. He does everything well, but that is something that is jumping off the video that is often overlooked or underrated."