For a moment, however brief, they lost control. With a comfortable lead and their offense humming at a rate it hadn't experienced this season, the Patriots started to give the game away.

First there was Stevan Ridley's fumble. Then Rob Ninkovich went out injured. Then Steve Gregory went out injured. The Steelers took advantage, and in the first eight minutes of the second half, the Patriots relinquished a two-touchdown lead, and the score was tied, 24-24.

But the Patriots have Tom Brady, and all was well for them because Tom Brady was great.

The Patriots quarterback led his team to four touchdown-scoring drives in the second half and came away with an electric 55-31 win over the Steelers.

Brady lit it up, throwing for 432 yards in all and four touchdowns on 23-of-33 passing.

"It feels good," Brady said after the game. "They don't always go like that. It was a fun day. Good execution. For the most part that was good execution. You wake up in the morning, you don't think they're going to be like that so that was pretty sweet."

There was no talk of his injured right hand as there had been a week prior during a win over the Dolphins. There was no wondering when Brady and his fresh-faced receiving corps might find its rhythm, as had been the case earlier this season.

This was pure, unadulterated Brady dominance.

Ben Roethlisberger's two touchdown passes to Jericho Cotchery -- one for 20 yards, the other for eight -- early in the third quarter were quickly forgotten by the Gillette Stadium crowd thanks to their quarterback's precision.

After a Stephen Gostkowski 32-yard field goal to make the score 27-24 and a Steelers three-and-out, a Julian Edelman 43-yard punt return set up Brady's first touchdown of the second half, a well-executed 17-yard back-shoulder throw to rookie receiver Aaron Dobson.

Their next drive? Just as easy-going. Eight plays covered 61 yards in less than four minutes and Stevan Ridley plunged into the end zone from five yards out for his second score of the game.