Brady downplays record vs. Steelers

Don't tell Tom Brady about his gaudy stats against the Steelers. Although the Patriots quarterback has owned Pittsburgh in all but one of his seven career games against the Steelers, he won't hear of it as he prepares for today's matchup at Heinz Field.

"They've played us pretty good a few times, too," Brady said. "We've had our moments, and they've had their moments."

But Brady has had a lot more moments. He's 6-1 lifetime against Pittsburgh, including two wins in the AFC Championship Game, and he has largely obliterated defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau's vaunted 3-4 defense. In the six wins, Brady has 14 touchdown passes and only one interception. And in his last four games, he has completed 70.9 percent of his passing attempts, throwing nine touchdown passes and only one interception.

"I think we realize the kind of challenge that it is, and we put a lot of time into the preparation and we put a lot of effort into understanding what we're trying to accomplish from a game-plan standpoint," Brady said. "It's a very good defense. They're first in the league in pass defense and I know you probably don't care about that, but they're pretty damn good, if you ask me."

While the Patriots boast the NFL's most prolific passing game at 350.5 yards per game, the Steelers have the league's No. 2 pass defense, allowing an average of only 171.9 yards.

The numbers suggest Brady has the edge, but don't discount Pittsburgh's three-game winning streak after a 2-2 start.

"We're not perfect by any stretch," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "The arrow is pointed up and we need to continue moving in that direction."

Osi: The field is my sanctuary

Since returning from preseason knee surgery, Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora has five sacks in three games, and looks as good as he has at any point in his career. But it was no surprise to Umenyiora that the numbers have been this good this quickly.

"I've been playing for so long, it really doesn't matter," said the 29-year-old pass rusher, who's in his ninth NFL season. "You really don't lose that. Only when I get old and slow will things be different."

Umenyiora has bristled about playing under his current contract, which expires after the 2012 season. But he's done griping about money. Especially on game day.

"Once I get on the field, honestly, that's my sanctuary," he said. "I feel protected. I don't think of anything, just playing football, rushing the passer and playing football. I love to do it. Once I get out there, I just forget about everything else and play."

Teammate Justin Tuck suggests Umenyiora's performance is his biggest negotiating tool.

"If he keeps playing the way he's playing," Tuck said, "that's the loudest voice he has."

Quick hits

Bills quarterback Ryan Fitpatrick's six-year extension includes $24 million in guaranteed money. "Ryan is a leader," Bills general manager Buddy Nix said. "He's got all the intangibles you want in a quarterback, and he's got a good arm and a quick release."

A Patriots win over Pittsburgh would represent another slice of history for Brady and Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who would surpass Dan Marino and Don Shula of the Dolphins for the most wins by a quarterback-head coach duo in the Super Bowl era. They're currently tied with 116 wins each.

Thanks to the new rule that moved kickoffs back to the 30 from the 35, there have been nearly as many touchbacks this season (511) as kickoff returns (515).

In Week 1, there were three kickoff returns for touchdowns and five punt return TDs. In Weeks 2-7, there have been a combined three kickoff return TDs and one punt return TD.

Since 2008, Texans quarterback Matt Schaub is 10-4 in the month of October, throwing for 3,940 yards, 25 touchdowns and only eight interceptions.

The Chiefs can become the first team since the 2000 Steelers to win four straight games after going 0-3 to start the season. Kansas City hosts the Chargers on Monday night.

NFL ON TV

Sunday

1 p.m., Dolphins at Giants, Ch. 2

4:05 p.m., Redskins vs. Bills (at Toronto) Ch. 5

4:15 p.m., Patriots at Steelers, Ch. 2

8:20 p.m., Cowboys at Eagles, Ch. 4

Monday

8:30 p.m., Chargers at Chiefs, ESPN..

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