2004 Steelers 34 vs Patriots 20
According to the talking heads, this Halloween matchup was "supposed" to be the game in which young phenom Ben Roethlisberger finally gets exposed as a rookie, overwhelmed by the evil genius of New England's defensive mastermind, Bill Belichick, with his unpredictable and frightening defensive schemes.
Instead, Big Ben picks apart New England's secondary (18 of 24, 196 yds, 2 TDs, 0 Int), wins NFL Rookie of the Week honors for 5th straight time and puts an end to the Patriots' record-setting winning streak.
The Patriots (6-0) come into the game having won 21 straight (counting the playoffs) and a league-record 18 in a row in the regular season. But the Steelers punch the Patriots in the mouth early and often in this one.
Roethlisberger throws 2 TD passes to Plaxico Burress (including a picture-perfect 47-yard bomb) and Deshea Townsend intercepts a rattled Tom Brady for a 39-yard "pick-six" during a furious 21-point Steelers first quarter.
Instead of the rookie Roethlisberger being overwhelmed, it's Brady who ends up frustrated, confused and looking out his ear hole. Meanwhile, Roethlisberger runs his own winning streak to 18: his last 13 games at Miami of Ohio and his first five in the NFL.
Joey Porter has a HUGE game, recording 3 sacks and forcing 2 fumbles while Duce Staley gains 125 yards on 25 carries and the Bus runs 15 times for 65 yards and a TD. All in all, a complete team effort.
Unfortunately, New England is busy illegally filming/stealing Pittsburgh's defensive calls during this game a la the "Spy-gate" scandal (for which Bill Belicheat is ultimately fined $500,000 and the Patriots are fined $250,000 as well as losing their first-round draft pick in the 2008 NFL Draft). But this game shows what a fair fight between the Steelers and Patriots looks like.
A truly beautiful win for the Steelers, and a Halloween Nightmare for the Patriots.