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Steelers rookie DBs know Tom Brady is coming after them: 'That's what he does'

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Steelers rookies Artie Burns and Sean Davis are about to face the biggest challenge of their young careers: Tom Brady, in Foxborough, for the chance to go to the Super Bowl.

And he'll be gunning straight for them.

"Yeah, I’m aware of that," Davis said. "I’m aware of that every time I step out on the field on Sundays. We have less experience, and they might try us, but I feel like we’ve been playing well, that we’ve been making plays, so you can go on and keep trying me."

Added Burns: "That’s what he does. He’s a savvy vet. That’s what savvy vets do; they go after rookies. I’m prepared for it. It’s a challenge. I’ve just got to be ready."

The rookies aren't exactly shaking in their boots, but perhaps they should be. The Patriots are 16-3 at home in the playoffs since 2001. Brady, a future first-ballot Hall of Famer, has shown no signs of stopping at 39.

They might be confident, but they're not dumb. They've seen what Brady can do to a defense.

"Tom Brady? He is what he is. He’s good," Burns said.

Added Davis: "We know he's not really a mobile guy, but he's just so smart, man. He's careful with the ball. He's got two picks over the season. So we've just got to be aware of what we're doing."

They have never faced stakes like this before, even though they faced Brady this season. A line could almost be drawn through that game, a Steelers loss. Davis was barely playing at the time, and Burns had not yet earned a starting job.

So why the bravado? The rookies now have two playoff games under their belt.

Brady is the best they will have faced all season, but at this point, what's one more?

"I’m very confident," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said of the rookies. "And I get the confidence based on what I’ve seen. I’ve been in two playoff stadiums with them already, and they’ve handled themselves rather well. That’s the only experience I have to pull from. So there’s a level of comfort there. But make no mistake about it, those guys are growing with each outing, and that’s just a very natural thing."

Burns and Davis know the stakes at this point. But they're ready to prove just how far they've come since that first meeting.

"I haven’t felt like a rookie in a long time," Davis said. "I can’t play like one now. I definitely can’t turn into a rookie now."