No one was in too bad of a mood in the Patriots locker room Sunday night; not after the way they handled the Steelers in their own building.
They weren't completely without complaint, though. A couple of the Patriots felt like the Steelers were taking liberties when plays were over, with some extra shoving, grabbing, twisting, giving of the business, etc. From Mike Reiss at ESPNBoston.com:
Brady received terrific protection from his offensive line, with no sacks in 43 pass attempts, even though some of the big guys up front felt the Steelers took some liberties when they got close to Brady, such as on his 3-yard quarterback sneak for a touchdown in the third quarter.
That had enforcer Mankins, aka the Patriots' starting left guard, explaining why there was some extra pushing and shoving after Brady's score, as Mankins was locked up with safety Troy Polamalu(notes).
"We don't care how long your hair is, we're not going to let you do what you want to our quarterback," Mankins said.
"There was a lot of extra sugar being tossed out around there, late in these plays," Light said. "The guy would be down on the ground and you'd see unnecessary stuff happening, like they're torquing his head when the play is clearly over. Those are the kind of things that get you fired up."
The Polamalu/Brady incident is depicted pretty well in the picture above. Brady couldn't be any more down by contact if he tried, and there's Polamalu, still trying to cram his head back to the other side of the goal line.
I wouldn't call Polamalu dirty over that -- if a guy's right at the goal line, you're going to try to push him back, and hardly anyone stops right at the whistle in that situation. Obviously, there's a certain point where you have to stop, but it's not on the same level as yanking a fellow's peaches.