FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Even quarterback Tom Brady didn't see this coming.
"You don’t wake up in the morning and think they’re going to be like that," he said after the Patriots' 55-31 victory over the Steelers. "That was pretty sweet."
Brady had his best day of the season, finishing 23-of-33 for 432 yards, with four touchdowns and no interceptions. In the process, it marked the sixth time he's led the Patriots to a 50-point output, tying Len Dawson for the most 50-point games by a starting quarterback in NFL history.
A few other milestones for Brady:
This marked the 15th time in his career that he has had four or more touchdowns in a game when not throwing an interception. Brady passed Saints quarterback Drew Brees for the most such games in NFL history.
He also had two passes of 50 or more yards in a single game for the eighth time in his career. His 81-yard touchdown pass to rookie receiver Aaron Dobson tied for the fifth-longest pass of his career and the sixth touchdown pass of 80 or more yards of his career.
The 432 yards marked the third highest single-game total of his 186-game career. The only times Brady threw for more yardage came against the Dolphins on Sept. 12, 2011 when he had 517 yards and against the 49ers on Dec. 16, 2012, when he had 443.
"There's a reason Brady is considered the best," Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel said. "He put the ball exactly where it needed to go and he knew exactly who to throw it to. He beat us all over the place and it's as simple as that."
Brady called it a fun day, saying "they don't always go like that." It was a performance that showed how the Patriots are evolving a bit on offense.
"I think there were some elements of our game that we're starting to show," he said. "When Gronk [Rob Gronkowski] plays like that and can produce like that, and Danny [Amendola] does that and Aaron [Dobson] does that and the backs do that and the line blocks, it's a good way to play football," he said.
"There were a lot of guys that played really well and that's what it's going to take, I think, as the season goes [on]. We have to keep getting better. It's been a process for us, but at the bye week, 7-2 is not bad. Hopefully our best football is ahead of us."