They were able to spread 'em out early and grind it out late, and that gave the great Tom Brady just 19 seconds with which to steal the game.
And that just wasn't enough time, even for Brady.
As for the Steelers, they emerged from Sunday afternoon's 25-17 triumph over Brady and the Patriots as a 6-2 football team and convinced they can do even more as an offense.
"We still have a lot of things to improve on," quarterback Ben Roethlisberger insisted after throwing for 365 yards and two scores. "I can play a lot better.
"When we don't kill ourselves and stop ourselves we can be pretty dangerous. There are just a few things here and there we need to clean up. Maybe we can be even more dangerous."
Roethlisberger cited a "stupid turnover," an interception he threw in the second quarter that set up the touchdown that pulled New England to within 10-7, and occasional miscommunications in assessing what the offense might have done better.
The Steelers also were a disappointing 2-for-5 in the red zone, which resulted in having to settle for field goals from the New England 15-, 3- and 5-yard lines.
But around such imperfections of performance they were able to amass more first downs (29-19) and more total net yards (427-213), convert third downs at a 63 percent success rate and hold the ball for 39:22.
The emphasis at the outset was on spreading the Patriots out and throwing quick passes that attacked the perimeter and the middle of the defense.
Tight end Heath Miller finished with seven receptions for 85 yards, including five for 61 yards on the Steelers' first two possessions, which ended up being drives that produced a touchdown and a field goal and an early 10-0 lead.
"We came in planning to take some shots, too," Roethlisberger said. "You would have thought the game plan was to just dink and dunk; that's just what they gave us. They took away the deep ball and that opens up the underneath stuff.
"For us, whenever you think about possessing the ball and time of possession and controlling it, it's run the ball. Well, we kind of showed that we can do it without always running the ball. We can take the short passes, the screens to the wide receivers, and we can move the ball. We just, when we get in the red zone, we gotta put seven points on the board."
When they got the ball back with 2:35 remaining in the game, after New England had pulled to within six points at 23-17, the Steelers were thinking first down rather than touchdown.
They got the one they had to have via a Roethlisberger pass to tight end David Johnson for 7 yards, and then consecutive carries from running back Isaac Redman that netted 2 yards and then the 1 yards that moved the chains. Those three plays exhausted the Patriots' three timeouts and allowed the Steelers to relinquish possession with just seconds to play.
"I told the (offensive) line when we came into the huddle, 'This game's on us,'" Roethlisberger said. "We can keep the defense off the field and we can win this game.
"We'd like to use that (last) 19 seconds, but I'm still proud of the way we were able to get a first down, burn their timeouts and, in essence, close the door."