PITTSBURGH — Steelers coach Mike Tomlin made no excuses after the defending AFC champions got off to a sluggish 2-2 start.

It’s why he’s not making any proclamations after Pittsburgh responded by ripping off three straight wins to climb back into first-place in the AFC North heading into Sunday’s showdown with New England.

Tomlin stressed it’s only October and the season isn’t quite halfway finished.

Still, he’s pleased with the progress his team has made in recent weeks, including a 32-20 victory at Arizona on Sunday that Tomlin called the most complete game he’s seen from the Steelers this season.

Yet Tomlin knows the Steelers will need to continue to improve if they want to beat the Patriots. New England quarterback Tom Brady is 6-1 all-time against Pittsburgh.