The Houston Texans disrupted Tom Brady, at least to some degree, in the divisional playoffs last Saturday, and the Pittsburgh Steelers hope to do the same this Sunday in the AFC Championship.
Bart Scott’s advice to Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler is pretty simple.
“Just watch the teams that have been successful against them,” The NFL Today on CBS host said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “A lot of times, Brady wants to spread those guys out because they’re a zone defense. They should take a page out of all the people that’s been successful, run a lot of A-gap stunts, and try and get pressure with anybody but the second level. When your second-level people come – and that’s where your pressures come from – Tom Brady will see a void in the zone. So maybe Bud Dupree and James Harrison, maybe try to isolate one of those guys over the center like (Whitney) Mercilus had success last week. After that, the Patriots start turning the protection. That’s when you attack the edges again because you have 2-on-1 on the running back.”
Scott has played Brady. He’s beaten Brady. He knows from experience that if you want to beat Brady, you have to pressure him and get him off his spot.
“It’s not like he’s afraid of the pressure, but you have to make him move his feet,” Scott said. “He’s not Aaron Rodgers. He’s not some of these other quarterbacks that can throw on the run. His percentage actually tremendously drops when his feet aren’t set and he’s not balanced and square. So what you saw is you saw them struggle and you saw him start to throw inaccurate passes once he had to move his feet. Now he has that internal clock on and he doesn’t know when it’s coming, but he’s starting to anticipate stuff like that so he starts to rush his throws. At times, he (threw) inaccurate throws and interceptions.”
The Patriots enter Sunday as six-point favorites, but Scott believes that the Steelers, who have won nine straight games, will get the W.
“I think the Steelers are getting healthy at the right time,” he said. “They’ve never been together this long. They have experience on their side. They don’t have as much experience as New England, but Ben Roethlisberger isn’t going to waver or submit to Tom Brady. He’s going to go blow for blow. He’s not afraid of Tom Brady if it gets in a shootout. He’s seen every blitz. He’s also going for No. 3. You talk about New England going to all these Super Bowls. Pittsburgh’s been right there in these AFC Championships for the last five years. Let’s see what they got for us.”
Kickoff is at 6:40 p.m. ET.