Patriots prepare for physical test

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- On Wednesday, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady told reporters that the team took a “well-deserved beating” from head coach Bill Belichick following their 34-14 loss in Cleveland on Sunday.

On Thursday, offensive tackle Matt Light was asked to elaborate on the message the team got from Belichick.

“It’s kind of like ‘the look,’” joked Light, noting it wasn’t something that could be easily described. “You have to be there for it. It’s pretty intense.

“It’s a tough week, there are a lot of things we have to work on, and you have to be able to do that and move on at the same time and get ready for this opponent.”

The opponent, the Steelers, is perhaps the most physical team in the league. It’s nothing new for Light, who has faced Pittsburgh seven times in his career.

“The Pittsburgh teams we’ve seen in the past, the Pittsburgh teams we see now, they’re all physical,” he said. “They thrive on playing mentally tough games that end up being physically draining by the end of it. I’m sure it will be the same this weekend.”

The Steelers defense by far leads the NFL statistically in run defense, with opponents averaging only 58 yards per game on the ground.

“Their run defense is as good as it gets. There’s not a lot of people running against them,” Light said. “They’re very active up front, they play that two-gap style defense really well. What they do with their stunts and pressures is good, really good. They’ve got some really good play makers over there.”

Traditionally a blitz-heavy defense, the Steelers are no different this season, tied for fifth in the league with 24 sacks on the season.

“They got a number of ways of getting after you. They like to come up the middle, they like to get you off the edge every now and then,” Light said. “It’s a pretty good package, it’s the kind of guys they want. The personnel they have fit their system very well.”

In the end, Light said, it will be up to the Patriots to match the Steelers’ physicality in a difficult road test for the team.

“I think it goes back to the underlying tone of the whole thing, which is playing a physical game. You have to play physical against these guys, you have to match their intensity, you have to finish every play,” he said. “So I think if you can do that and stay out of all the situations you have to avoid when you play on the road, which is long yardage, mental errors, penalties, and all that stuff, then you’ll do alright, but if you do any combination of those then it’s going to be a long day.”