Top-notch effort in pass protection

PITTSBURGH -- When quarterback Tom Brady was asked about the pass protection he received in Sunday night's win over the Steelers, he lauded the blockers in front of him.

"It was phenomenal," he said. "It's been that way all year. The offensive line is a veteran group, we've all been together for so long.

"Logan [Mankins] has added so much in terms of his toughness and his leadership. Matt [Light] and Sebastian [Vollmer] are great players, and [Dan Koppen] mans that line, he's responsible for so much up front. ... I love those guys. Those are my boys. I'm proud of he way they compete and they fight every day. They have a great coach too [Dante Scarnecchia]. It's a great group."

The Patriots entered the week ranked 10th in fewest sacks allowed per pass play. After keeping Brady clean against the Steelers, they now rank 6th.

A look at the season breakdown:

Bengals: 0 of 35

Jets: 1 of 37

Bills: 1 of 28

Dolphins: 3 in 27

Ravens: 3 in 47

Chargers: 4 in 36

Vikings: 0 in 27

Browns: 1 in 39

Steelers: 0 in 43

On Sunday, in-game statisticians recorded three quarterback hits on Brady. On the year, Brady has absorbed 28 quarterback hits in nine games.