Moments before kickoff in Foxboro, the mood back in Steel Town was that something was about to unfold which the next Alfred Lord Tennyson wanna-be would refer to as "Pyrrhic in nature."
Sad but true, Tennyson's been dead since 1892).
And nobody uses the term "Pyrrhic" any more.
To describe anything.
But, on the bright side, Steel Town is buzzing at how good D-lineman Nick Eason looked when fielding that short kickoff and turning it into a 10-yd. KOR.
Although that runback wasn't Pyrrhic in nature by any any means, it's now forever a stat which no one can ever take away from Eason.
A D-lineman with a 10-yd. KOR ... what a great moment in American sports history.
However, in terms of stopping the red, white n' blue which is America's Team, the Steelers did not Pat-slap the Pats with a big, fat "L" -- but, more useful, perhaps, were the valuable life lessons which the Black N' Gold took away from that trip to Fox Town.
It should prove useful when the teams square off next month and spill blood as a January act of vengeful avenging of the blood spilled in December.
Then again, if the Steelers should lose to Jacksonville at Heinz next Sunday and then fail to avenge that loss by losing again to Jacksonville at Heinz three weeks later, well ...
Let's not get ahead of ourselves, though.
For one thing, those of us who predicted a 33-17 final score today are not heartbroken over the 34-13 outcome.
After those lackluster efforts by the Belicheats vs. the Beagles and the Raisins, lotsa people were holdin' out hope that Dirk McGirder (who some have mistaken for somebody named Steely McBeam ... whoever she is) was qualified to end the Pats unbeaten reign of terror and unlikability.
17-13 at the half held some promise, alas ... Anthony Smith was made a scapegoat -- which really isn't fair because A) His "guarantee" -- for those who saw the footage -- was more along the lines of "yeah-if-we-do-what-we're-capable-of-we-CAN-beat-these-guys" rather than "we're gonna bitch 'em like a little bitch in C-block" and B) In the all-time Steeler roster in our hearts, Anthony Smith will never be a first-string #27 (because Glen Edwards is) ...
Oh, and Tyrone Carter might be an F-in' mad dog out there, but he'll never be our favorite #23 at safety (because Mike Wagner is).
Our black-n'-gold bruthuz gots to know where they rank on the food chain ....
As per the other "numbers" of note, that tricky, wide-lateral to Moss ... back to Brady ... well, if ya look at it closely, Tommy cranked it up and let fly with a pass that that traveled 63 yards on the fly.
60-plus is respectable ... almost as impressive as when Tommy grabbed Amy Poehler's left tit on SNL in that workplace sexual-harrassment parody a few years back.
Tommy helped inform America that the best strategy for avoiding a lawsuit in the workplace is to:
A) Be handsome
B) Be attractive
C) Don't be unattractive
The soundness of such advice might've taken a hit, though, when Too Smooth Tommy threw that first TD pass and he sought out Anthony Smith and had words with the guy near the goal line (a convo which lost some of its rhythm when James Harrison casually-but-forcefully "bumped" into Brady from behind).
When we saw the exchange, it reminded many Americans of that famous photo from a few years ago when Brady was shaking hands with Pope John Paul II.
It was obvious to everyone who's seen the photo -- judging from the expression on Tom Slick's face and his general body language -- is that Brady was delivering a message to the pontif.
And, that message was: "Your Excellency, you're gonna die soon. When that happens, I'm next in line as the new sheriff of Pope Town! How do ya like them apples?"
So, when Brady was gettin' all up-close-and-personal with Anthony Smith, it was mighty obvious what he was sayin' from behind the facemask.
And, no ... he wasn't tellin' Anthony Smith that Junipero Serra High School is a wonderful place for spiritual enrichment and personal growth -- just as he wasn't enlightening Smith with an anecdote about the priceless, tender moments with a newborn, bastard son born out of wedlock.
You didn't need to be a lip-reader to read the lips you couldn't see behind that facemask.
Brady was yellin', "Fuckin'-A, bitch! Guarantee THAT, bitch! Enjoy yer boners in the shower with the fellas 'cuz as soon as yer outta my face, I'm gonna have Giselle's ta-ta's in my face!"
The media's cute the way it often portrays Brady as some sorta Tom Terrific who's volunteering at the rescue mission after the ballgame.
He might be our MVP ... but he's still a pencilneck pretty boy from San Mateo.
And, if ya don't think he drops F-bombs all over Anthony Smith the way that he floats passes over Anthony Smith's outstretched arms, guess again.
Also, with that OL, Kyle Boller could put up Pro Bowl numbers for New England.
Brady might be an OK guy ... but, he remains the father of a bastard child born outta wedlock -- and, one day, that bastard child born outta wedlock will want to watch "The Tom Brady Is More Terrific Than Jesus Christ" DVD ... only Tom's Bastard Child Born Outta Wedlock will probably end up watching the DVD with his birth-mommy's boyfriend.
The same boyfriend of Mom who taught Tom's Bastard Child Born Outta Wedlock how to throw a football.
So, stop tellin' us that Ben Roethlisberger is some Ohio dumbshit who doesn't wear a helmet when he rides a motorcycle.
Big Ben's okay.
Then again, if Brady's OL broke down in pass protection as often as Big Ben's has this year, Little Tommy would think he was back at Serra, gettin' all violated by the Bellarmine Bells and the St. Francis Lancers, again and again and again.
That was back in an era when Tom would say, "Yes, sir" and "No, ma'am" and "Aw, shucks" -- and you could take him at his word.
Now, he blinds America with that smile and that crater in his chin ... and for every "Aw, shucks" with which he melts and disarms the media, he's offerin' a big serving of "Frickin'-A, you sorry-ass bitch!" off camera.
Not that there's anything wrong with that, per se.
It's the NFL.
And, like many NFL'ers ... Tom Brady ain't married to the mother of his child.
That'll put him outta the running for King of PopeTown ...