ESPN quarterbacks guru Ron Jaworski likes to say that the best signal-callers in the NFL can “manipulate” the defense before and during the play to move defenders out of position and maximize one-on-one matchups.

“In the NFL of 2013, quarterbacks must be able to control the game at the line of scrimmage,” Jaworski said this summer. “There are few better than Tom Brady.”

Brady had been inconsistent in the Patriots’ first eight games, throwing just nine touchdown passes against six interceptions. But Brady was a maestro in Sunday’s 55-31 win over Pittsburgh, using his eyes and his brain as much as his right arm to manipulate the chess pieces and gash the Steelers’ defense for 432 passing yards and four touchdowns, by far his best game of the season.

“He had it working today,” Steelers veteran safety Ryan Clark said. “He hit all the spots he was supposed to. If there was a weakness in the defense, Tom Brady found it.”