PITTSBURGH—The Pittsburgh Steelers spent two months listening to all the things they couldn't do.
They couldn't run the ball effectively. They couldn't stop the run. They couldn't stop Tom Brady. They couldn't protect Ben Roethlisberger.
Done. Done. Done and done.
Halfway through the season, the defending AFC champions are back in their usual spot atop the conference looking down at everyone else following a 25-17 win over New England.
Roethlisberger passed for 365 yards and two scores and led a series of clock-consuming drives to lift Pittsburgh (6-2) to its fourth straight victory and beat Brady for the first time since 2004.
"We showed that we can throw the ball so people can shut up and go about their business and stop saying whatever they want to say," wide receiver Mike Wallace said.
Next up for the Steelers is rival Baltimore. The Ravens embarrassed Pittsburgh 35-7 in the season opener. The Steelers aren't close to over it yet. Not even after pushing the Patriots all over Heinz Field.
"I'm not going out," Wallace said. "I'm going home right now and locking it down. I'm ready for next week. I don't care about nothing else."
His teammates aren't quite ready to go that far. It's not every day you find a way to beat Brady, particularly for a team that's done it just once in a decade.
"It's a huge step," linebacker Lawrence Timmons said. "The New England Patriots have (coach Bill) Belichick and Brady. This is a team that contends in the AFC every year and goes to the championship or the Super Bowl. So having this win, in our house, is huge and something to build on."
And something for the Patriots (5-2) to work on. The NFL's best offense mustered just 213 yards -- less than half its usual total of 474 -- mostly because the NFL's worst defense couldn't get off the field.
The Steelers held the ball for more than 39 minutes, converted 10 of 16 third downs and ran 78 plays while the Patriots (5-2) snapped the ball just 50 times.
"It's very frustrating," New England nose tackle Vince Wilfork said. "You talk about getting a team in second-and-longs and third-and-longs and taking advantage of those situations. We had them in those situations; we just didn't take advantage of them."
Belichick refused to place most of the blame on the defense. The Patriots punted the ball four times, missed a field goal and botched an onside kick attempt.
"It just wasn't a really good day for us in any phase of the game, in any area," Belichick said. "We just didn't do a good enough job. That's really all there is to say."
Brady has been nearly untouchable this season, but was sacked three times by the Steelers, the last resulting in fumble that rolled out of the end zone to provide the final margin with 8 seconds to play.
"There was a poor level of execution," Brady said. "Too many three-and-outs. We all have to individually look in the mirror and figure out what we need to get better at."
The Steelers insist they weren't perfect, but they played a nearly flawless game to end Brady's mastery over the defending AFC champions. Brady came in with a 6-1 record against Pittsburgh, including two AFC championship victories at Heinz Field.
All of that ended on a chilly October day that felt more like January. A good sign for the Steelers, who have lacked intensity at times this season.
"It's been all Tom Brady versus the Pittsburgh Steelers and looking back on the past, how he's owned the Pittsburgh Steelers, and I think everybody forgot about our offense a little bit and the things they've been doing out there," Pittsburgh linebacker LaMarr Woodley said. "I think they took that a little personal."
Roethlisberger pointed to a line that gave him enough time to complete 36 of 50 passes and receivers who made New England pay dearly for taking away the deep ball. Working exclusively underneath to Antonio Brown (nine catches), Heath Miller (seven catches) and Wallace (seven receptions), the Steelers played with the kind of precision normally reserved for the Patriots.
"We can be as good as we want to be," Roethlisberger said. "When we don't kill ourselves and stop ourselves, we can be pretty dangerous."
It's all the Steelers could ask for heading into a second half of the season that looks a lot sunnier than it did a month ago.
"We had to beat them today," safety Ryan Clark said. "We're talking about this dominance that New England's had on us. I think we've won more Super Bowls, been to more Super Bowls than they have. It's not about history. We were excited to win today."