There were a handful of storylines and numbers that played into last week’s tie (that still feels weird to write) between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns, and there is no shortage of drama for this week’s matchup as well. There is Ben Roethlisberger’s elbow, once again the absence of Le’Veon Bell, the emergence of James Conner and the highlight reel offense that belongs to the Kansas City Chiefs.
9-3 – Roethlisberger had a rough first week back on the job last Sunday, throwing three interceptions and fumbling away another two turnovers. If anyone else had a showing like that at their place of work, their job security would be under intense scrutiny but this is Big Ben we are talking about. This is the two-time Super Bowl champion and the man who responds to adversity better than anyone this city has ever seen. When throwing three or more interceptions in a game, Roethlisberger is 9-3 in the games that follow. While Roethlisberger’s perseverance will also have to battle the likes of his elbow injury, he has typically responded well after disaster strikes.
34 – Chiefs’ receiver Tyreek Hill has been an offensive juggernaut since entering the league and continued right where he left off last Sunday, catching seven passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns. Hill has yet to have any sort of success against the Steelers in his young career, as his highest receiving total in any game against the black and gold is just 34 yards. Hill has played three games against the Steelers and totalled just 24, 27 and 34 yards respectively in those matchups. The Chiefs have not beaten the Steelers yet with Hill on the field and if the likes of Artie Burns and Cameron Sutton neutralize Hill again Sunday, there’s a good chance that pattern continues.
541 – No offense showed off more fireworks than Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense last Sunday. Behind Mahomes, the Chiefs exploded for 38 points perhaps covering up the fireworks set off onto the Chiefs’ defense by the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers put up a whopping 541 yards on the Chiefs’ defense last Sunday with 424 passing yards coming from Phillip Rivers. Should Roethlisberger’s elbow not hinder his ability with the deep ball, look for the Steelers’ offense to stretch the field Sunday.
677 – The Steelers have had a lot of success running the football against the Chiefs recently and much of that success has belonged to Le’Veon Bell. Including playoffs, Bell has rushed for 677 yards against the Chiefs, slashing them for 179 and 170 yards on the ground in his last two matchups. Without Bell once again this weekend, one player in the Steelers locker room hopes the team’s success on the ground against the Chiefs is a result of matchups rather than Bell himself. James Conner will be the deciding factor in that question yet again as the running back will look to build on his 135-yard rushing performance in week one.
1986 – Time for a trivia question. When was the last time the Chiefs beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh? The last time the Chiefs won in Pittsburgh, Antonio Brown had yet to be born and Roethlisberger was just four years old. The Chiefs have not come out of Pittsburgh victorious since 1986 and have struggled in Pittsburgh ever since. Since that victory, the Chiefs are 0-6 in the ‘Burgh. Will that number move to 0-7 this Sunday or do the Chiefs have enough firepower to finally overpower their bullies in Pittsburgh?