The Steelers beat the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday night 13-9 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City and I have now had a chance to back through the game a second time and jot down my observations from the game not found in the game recap.
Away we go!
Before leaving the game with a concussion, Troy Polamalu had not got into the groove just yet as he failed to wrap up on a couple of early tackles. When he finally did on the tackle eligible pass, it resulted in his injury. He was all over the field early mostly down in the box.
After not playing a defensive snap against the Bengals two weeks ago, Cameron Heyward saw early work at left defensive end in place of Ziggy Hood. Not sure what to read into that as Heyward has mostly played on the right side this season. Heyward really did not stick out on the tape, but he seemed to hold the point of attack pretty well.
I am guessing Mike Tomlin used Emmanuel Sanders on kickoffs in place of Antonio Brown to save the wear and tear on Brown. It will be interesting to hear his reason on Tuesday. David Johnson missed his block on the Steelers first kickoff by the way.
Penalties started early with 12 men in the huddle on the second offensive play for the Steelers.
The early pass to Heath Miller on the opening series is all you needed to see to know the thumb of Ben Roethlisberger was fine. The offsetting penalties hurt on the deep ball to Brown, but Max Starks clearly held on the play. Brown answered on the next play with a deep catch inside the Chiefs 10.
Ben looked mad at Weslye Saunders I think for lining up wrong after the big catch and was forced to take an early timeout. Mike Wallace let the pass on the next play go right through his hands for an easy missed touchdown. On the very next play Mewelde Moore fumbled into the endzone to kill the drive. Should have easily been 7 points, but ended with none.
Jams Farrior really had some nice sticks early in the game and Jason Worilds was getting some pressure. Great heads up by Brett Keisel to recover the fumble on the Chiefs second series.
The holding call on Miller on the second drive, killed it. If that didn\’t, the sack two plays later did as both Ramon Foster and Starks can share some blame. The resulting punt by Jeremy Kapinos was a thing of beauty however.
Ike Taylor finally got him an interception and there will be none easier than that one. The Steelers tried a pick play on 3rd down, but Brown and Sanders ended up picking each other. Drive ended with a field goal and things were still looking up.
Tyler Palko was in the gift giving mood and Ryan Mundy was the recipient of the second Palko pick. Starks started the next drive with a false start. The drive ended with a great play by Roethlisberger to get the ball to Saunders for the touchdown. Saunders foot work was solid to get both feet down.
The second timeout also seemed to be because of a bad formation as Roethlisberger again showed his disgust. Wallace dropped the bomb from Roethlisberger that hit him right in the hands. His second big drop of the game.
Great corner blitz by William Gay on a third down that ended the Chiefs drive. Ryan Succop nailed a nice long field goal.
The Brown end around pass play was a dubious play call, they always are when they do not work, but credit to Roethlisberger for peeling back and blocking on the play so that it resulted in positive yardage.
Jon McGraw made a nice breakup on the ball to Miller late in the first half. Great job by Shaun Suisham on the 49 yard field goal to end the half on a positive note.
Pass protection was very spotty in the first half, but the run blocking seemed to be fine.
Hines Ward still is effective on third downs and had a nice conversion in the soft area of the Chiefs defense to start the second half. The second half also started with great blocking on the Counter Pike play which features Chris Kemoeatu pulling right.
Safety Travis Daniels never bit on the Roethlisberger look off on the interception and it made for an easy pick. Brandon Flowers also had good coverage on Brown on the play.
Mundy and Lawrence Timmons also both had nice games and the two combined for 17 tackles. Timmons also saw a few snaps outside in place of Worilds.
Once again we saw how effective the bubble screens could be in this game. The Doug Legursky holding call killed the Steelers second drive of the second half as it was followed by a Legursky pressure on the next play. Ben lined up as if he was going for it on 4th down and the Steelers wasted a timeout instead of taking a delay of game. Poor clock management.
Taylor liked to have had a second interception as he drove on a route. Taylor and Timmons were not fooled on the 3rd down wildcat play, but the Steelers special team unit was on the 4th down fake to extend the drive. The Chiefs even tipped the play with motion by the punter. It was good to see Worilds end the drive by getting his first sack of the season.
Brown clearly dropped a back shoulder throw on second down on the Steelers final offensive possession. The 3rd down pass was deflected after Marcus Gilbert allowed a deep penetration on a blitz by the Chiefs.
Curtis Brown and Cortez Allen had good nights on special teams and Brown had a big tackle from behind on the Steelers final punt of the game.
Keenan Lewis did a great job getting his hand in on Steve Breaston to cause a bobble on the Chiefs final drive. It looked for certain it would be an easy back shoulder completion.
On the final interception by Lewis the Steelers showed blitz but dropped out of it. Palko threw the pass to an area that four Steelers defenders were in and slightly over threw it which Lewis leaped up and picked it off to seal the win.
In closing I thought the defense really played good on the night. James Harrison was kept at bay pretty good as far as pass rushing went, but Harrison made up for it with backside run defense I thought. The Steelers held the Chiefs to a 2.6 yards per carry on the night and overall the tackling was solid. There was not many yards allowed after the catch either.
The offense just could not convert 3rd downs and the drops by Wallace were pretty big as that could have easily been 14 points. Throw in the fumble by Moore and a few untimely penalties and you get what happened in this game. The offense moved the ball, they just could not score.