Next-level statistical analysis of Pats' loss

Some key statistics and trends from the Patriots' 25-17 loss to the Steelers:

Empty backfield formations prove successful for Pittsburgh

NEXT LEVEL: Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ offense consistently spread out the Patriots defense by emptying the backfield. Roethlisberger threw both of his touchdowns out of empty-set formations and recorded nine plays that went for first downs, shattering his previous mark of six.

High efficiency, high production

NEXT LEVEL: Ben Roethlisberger had been above average all season at completing short throws, but Roethlisberger turned in an elite performance against the Patriots on Sunday. Both of Roethlisberger’s touchdown passes came on throws fewer than 10 yards.

Patriots abandon the run

The Patriots ran the ball 12 times on Sunday against the Steelers, their fewest number of rushes in a game since Week 14 of 2007 (nine rushes, 22 yards in a 34-13 win against Pittsburgh). The Steelers entered the game allowing 4.5 yards per rush (19th in NFL).

Steelers’ defensive backs contain Brady

NEXT LEVEL: Tom Brady threw for 5.9 yards per attempt on Sunday against the Steelers against at least five defensive backs. Entering Sunday, Brady was averaging more than nine yards per attempt this season. Since 2008, the Patriots are 0-4 when Brady is held to fewer than six yards per attempt against at least five defensive backs.

Steelers move the chains

The Patriots defense could not get off the field on Sunday against the Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger completed 9-of-12 passes on third down for 104 yards and both of his touchdowns.

Patriots struggle to stretch field

NEXT LEVEL: The Patriots entered Week 8 with 33 pass plays of 20 or more yards, 3rd in the NFL (5.5 per week). They had one play go that distance Sunday in Pittsburgh. Big plays in the New England passing game have been on the decline this season: